Poison ivy season

by Caroline Brown

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


4 Responses to “Poison ivy season”

  1. My Grandparents always used to tell me “leaves of three, don’t touch me!”

    Thanks for the reminder!
    Stop by again later and nice to ‘meet’ you


  2. Hi C, I had my first bout with poison ivy a couple of summers ago and it was hell. You don’t know what itching is til you go through this. The only thing that helped was calamine lotion and patience…LOL I was not aware that PI came in different forms. I walked through a small memorial park, in sandals, that hadn’t seen a lawn mower in a while, in a small town and wham…..Hope that never happens again.

    BTY, the photos are again covering part of your post, on page 2 this time. I dont know if its this end, everything else shows up fine.

    Im up early, Joe had to go to work so I decided to stay up and do some browsing. BFN

  3. Hi,

    i had a medium size rash lately and at some point after about a week, I took pictures of what the rashes looked like. I got the idea because the first big bubble came out soe here it goes 🙂

    I hope you like it and that it won’t scare you off toomuch 🙂


    leave comments 🙂


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