Mature poison ivy leaves are smooth, shiny, or dull, and turn bright red and yellow in the fall. The edges of the leaves can be lobed or smooth. Poison ivy grows like vines or low shrubs in most climates. Each leaf of a poison ivy plant has three smaller leaflets.
Touching any part of the poison ivy plant can cause redness and swelling of the skin, blisters and severe itching, sometimes hours after exposure. Poison ivy is the only one that always has three leaves, one on each side and one in the center. They are shiny with smooth or slightly jagged edges. Poison oak looks similar, but the leaves are larger and more rounded like an oak leaf.
They have a hairy, textured surface. There can be groups of three, five or seven leaves. Poison sumac leaves grow in clusters of seven to 13 leaves, with only one at the end. If you have black spots or streaks, there tends to be little or no redness and swelling.
The medical term for this condition is black-spotted poison ivy dermatitis. A rash from one of these poisonous plants usually manifests as itchy red bumps on the skin. Poison ivy loses its leaves in winter and grows new ones in spring. Young poison ivy leaves often start dark and bright red, and then gradually turn green and less shiny over time.
Poison ivy (A) usually has three wide teardrop-shaped leaves. Can grow as a climbing or low-spreading vine that extends through grass. Found everywhere in the United States except Alaska and Hawaii. It often grows along rivers, lakes and ocean beaches.
Poison oak (B) has leaves that look like oak leaves and grow like vines or shrubs. The plant can have three or more leaflets per group. It is more common in the western United States. In Oklahoma, poison ivy is distributed throughout most of the state, but it is less abundant in the Southwest and West Coast areas of the state.
The flowers of poison ivy and oak are greenish-yellow in color and appear in panicles of the axils of the leaves on the stem. In addition, Virginia creeper, like poison ivy, is red when it first emerges, but then turns green as it matures. Before hugging a tree or even leaning against one, make sure there are no poison ivy vines growing on it. Poison ivy vines can be up to six inches thick and can have thinner branches that protrude horizontally.
Whether you need to clean up a backyard or a larger area, eradicating poison ivy requires a careful approach. Poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) is found in all 48 lower states and grows in a variety of conditions, although it is most abundant along forest edges and in open forests with moderate sunlight. A young poison ivy plant is almost always reddish in color, while a young maple usually has a light yellow to green color. The safest way to eliminate poison ivy is to bury or stack it in a place where no one comes into contact with it for at least a year.
This contrasts with poison ivy leaves, which are opposite the terminal leaflet on a longer stem, an important distinguishing feature in differentiating these two. The leaves of the simulated strawberry are much more yellow than poison ivy and connect to the stem at a central point. Poison ivy prefers partial sunlight, so it often grows where the soil has been disturbed, such as along the edges of paths, fields, or gardens. According to the American Skin Association, up to 50 million Americans have a reaction to poison ivy each year.
The fruits of poison ivy and oak are grayish white to creamy white and have ridges that make it look like a tiny pumpkin. .