Pictures of Poison Ivy

  • 01 of 10

    What the Young Leaves of Poison Ivy Look Like

    Image of young leaves of poison ivy.
    This is what the young leaves of poison ivy look like, while the plants are still fresh in spring. David Beaulieu

    I am often asked, "What does poison ivy look like?" Indeed, it's more than merely an academic question, since being able to identify the "itchy rash vine" with confidence can prevent you from an unfortunate encounter with it. The scientific name of the plant is Rhus radicans or Toxicodendron radicans. It's easy to remember the old rhyme "leaves of three, let it be, " but these photos will allow you to identify the plant both with and without leaves. While the...MORE leaves are the most toxic part of the plant, contact with any part can cause an allergic reaction. It's important to learn what poison ivy looks like throughout the growing season. This leaf close-up shows plants that are less than a foot high. 

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  • 02 of 10

    Leaves of Young Poison Ivy Plants

    Picture of poison ivy.
    Picture of poison ivy in spring, with its reddish leaves. David Beaulieu

    Young poison ivy plants often start out in spring with reddish leaves. The plants are just barely off the ground but the oil can still rub off on the fabric of shoes and socks. It is possible to transfer the oil from your clothes to your skin. If you think your clothes have come in contact with poison ivy be careful removing the garment and wash the area afterward.

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  • 03 of 10

    Mature Poison Ivy Plants

    What poison ivy looks like.
    Photo of leaves of mature plants in summer. David Beaulieu

    In mature poison ivy plants, the leaves are green, and they are about two feet high. Poison ivy vines often grow en masse, taking over an area and becoming the dominant plant.

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  • 04 of 10

    Poison Ivy Flower Buds

    Picture of poison ivy flower buds.
    Picture of poison ivy flower buds. David Beaulieu

    People often don't associate something as nasty as poison ivy with flowers, but yes, this weed does bloom! Your sense of justice may perhaps be mollified, however, by the fact that the blossoms aren't especially attractive.

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  • 05 of 10

    Poison Ivy Flowers

    Picture of poison ivy flowers. As this picture shows, poison ivy flowers are rather unremarkable.
    Picture of poison ivy flowers. David Beaulieu

    Poison Ivy produces rather small unremarkable blossoms. Walking quickly past a patch of poison ivy plants in bloom, you would hardly notice the individual blossoms.

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  • 06 of 10

    Poison Ivy Berries

    Photo of the white berries of poison ivy.
    Photo of the white berries of poison ivy. David Beaulieu

    Poison Ivy plants also grow berries, which are of course just as toxic as the rest of the plant. A distinguishing trait of poison ivy is the color of its mature berries. When they ripen (in late summer to early fall), they turn from a pale green to a whitish color.

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  • 07 of 10

    Poison Ivy Leaf

    Picture of poison ivy vine growing on a stone wall.
    Picture of poison ivy vines growing on a stone wall with their characteristic "leaflets of three". David Beaulieu

    Poison ivy leaf on plants can trail over the ground or climb. The vines of Rhus radicans produce aerial roots that allow them to climb up rough surfaces like wood and stone.

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  • 08 of 10

    Poison Ivy Fall Foliage

    Image: dead tree covered with poison ivy in its fall color (orange).
    A wonderful fall foliage tree? No. This is merely a dead tree that has been covered by poison ivy. It's still a great autumn scene, but don't touch!. David Beaulieu

    The green summer color of poison ivy's foliage yields to brilliant fall foliage in red, yellow or orange. The autumn brilliance of poison ivy's foliage is due to the anthocyanin pigments characteristic of the plant family to which poison ivy belongs, namely, the cashew family (​Anacardiaceae).

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  • 09 of 10

    Poison Ivy Red Autumn Foliage

    Image: poison ivy in the fall with a brick-red color.
    Poison ivy is rather pretty in fall, but be sure to admire it only from a distance!. David Beaulieu

    Some poison ivy plants come "full circle," displaying a reddish fall foliage. In this regard, poison ivy reminds me of red maple trees. The latter display red buds in spring that hold a hint of what their gorgeous fall foliage will look like.

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  • 10 of 10

    Poison Ivy Aerial Roots

    Have you wondered what those hairy vines are climbing up trees?
    Poison ivy's aerial roots are what allow it to scale trees and other objects. Many people fail to recognize these "hairy vines" as a source of danger. David Beaulieu

    Have you wondered what those hairy vines are climbing up trees? That's poison ivy! The "hairs" being the vines' aerial roots. Unfortunately, those hairs are as toxic as the rest of the plant.