Now that summer's here, it's officially poison ivy season. Outdoor enthusiasts have to be on the lookout as this stuff is everywhere — along hiking paths, in public parks, even in your own yard. Here's a few pictures and tips to help you recognize it.
"Leaves of three, let them be" is how children identify poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans or Rhus toxicodendron). The leaves are compound, grouped in threes, and shaped like almonds. The leaf is smooth on the bottom and top, and the leaf edge is generally not serrated (no teeth–more smooth than jagged).
Poison ivy confuses people because it can come in many forms. It can be a shrub, or a groundcover, or a climbing vine. The stems are woods and thornless. The vine clings to trees, rocks, fences, etc. via tiny rootlets on the stem, which makes them appear fuzzy. Below you can see the difference in young leaves & mature leaves
Below are pictures of poison ivy's various incarnations as a climbing vine, shrub, and groundcover.
So be on the lookout for poison ivy when you're enjoying the outdoors this holiday weekend and the rest of the summer. Don't make the mistake of thinking that you're "immune" to PI because your "immunity" level can change. If you see it….steer clear.
If you have it in your yard and want to get rid of it, that's a different story. Stay tuned and I'll soon do a post on how to effectively get rid of it. The truth is, I'm not sure what the most "earth friendly" yet safe way to get rid of it. But I'll do some research and post what I find.
For more information, check out The Poison Ivy Site.
Top photo credit: Wikipedia.
Remaining photo credits: Jon Sachs, The Poison Ivy Site