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Two Ways to Identify Poison Ivy

"What does poison ivy look like?" is 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.

While the leaves are the most toxic part of the plant, contact with any part (even when the plant is bare of foliage) can cause an allergic reaction. Even if your cat or dog comes in contact with the plant, the animal can spread it to you. That is the reason why it is important to learn what poison ivy looks like throughout the growing season and beyond. This leaf close-up shows plants that are less than a foot high but that have already put on their green summer color. 

Young poison ivy plants often start out in spring with orangey or reddish leaves. Be aware that the margins of the leaves sometimes have notches in them (but not always, so this feature, in and of itself, is not enough to identify the weed). The plants here are just barely off the ground but the oil (urushiol, which is what makes this plant toxic) 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.

As summer progresses and poison ivy plants mature, most of the leaves are green, and they are about two feet high. Any new leaves that appear, though, will still be reddish, as in spring (but the red color will not be as intense). Poison ivy vines often grow in a mass, taking over an area and becoming the dominant plant.

If you think you may have poison ivy, and aren't sure. Give us a call, we can help you identify this pesky plant!

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