Living in Ohio provides no shortage of poison ivy photo opportunities.
Most of these photos were taken at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park,
but a couple came from my yard. Click any image below for a larger picture.
Once you know what poison ivy looks like, learn to differentiate between it and
common plants that look a lot like it.
Poison Ivy in the Sun
Poison ivy growing out in the sun. Ivy that grows in full sun is generally lighter in color and has more red than ivy that grows in shade, but this is not always the case. Ivy in full sun can often have leaves that look "wilted" (like a plant that wants water), although this plant does not.
Poison Ivy in the Shade
Poison ivy in shade can often have a deeper green color. My friend has ivy growing under their bush in full shade and it's a very dark forest-green color. Note that the stems are all green and there is no red center on any of the leaves in this photo.
Newly Sprouted Poison Ivy
The only exception to the alternate-leaf-arrangement is when poison ivy plants first come up from seed. In fact, young poison ivy also breaks the 3-leaves rule (see the small two leaves at the base). However, neither of these conditions last for long as the plant grows.
Poison Ivy Vines
Poison ivy vines are hairy and very woody. They can get quite thick and large over time. The vines are just as toxic as the leaves, so don't touch. They have dark, tendril-like hair that helps hold the vine hold on. Really thick vines will have large canopies of leaves on their top, almost like a small tree.
New Red Leaf
A new leaf is forming. Sometimes young leaves are red (especially when the plant is in full sun) but sometimes not. All of the leaves in the photo are of the same poison ivy plant, but note that some are shiny and some are not.
Curly New Leaves
Another set of new leaves on an established plant. These are curly, but still poison ivy. Poison ivy leaves sometimes has an oily sheen, as in this photo, but sometimes they are dull and not shiny.
Poison Ivy in Bloom
Yes... poison ivy blooms! It has small white-yellow flowers that later turn in to white berries. ("Berries white... run in fright!") Birds eat the berries (with no ill effects), poop out the seeds that were inside the berries, and voila... you have poison ivy in your garden!
Tall Poison Ivy
Poison ivy can grow quite tall when it is freestanding. This plant was about 4 feet tall and was surrounded by smaller plants.
Poison Ivy Growing Up a Tree
Poison ivy vines attach themselves and the plant just keeps climbing up. Vines can grow on fences, trees, up telephone poles, the sides of houses... wherever it can attach itself. The tendril-like hairs are very sticky and lets the plant easily attach to things.
Very Large Leaves
Poison ivy leaves can get very large, although this is not a photo of as large as leaves can get...
check this out. Regardless of the size of a leaf, it's still toxic no matter what. Also notice the shape of these leaves... more lobed than notched, but is still poison ivy.