May 28th, 2013

How to Recognize Poison Ivy

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Groovy Green Livin Poison Ivy

If my kids say “poison ivy” they get it. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but every summer someone’s covered from head-to-toe in poison ivy and I’m done. I have the natural remedies for poison ivy down-I’ve had to use them so many times.

The saying goes “leaves of three let them be”. Learning how to identify poison ivy and then avoiding it is the best way to prevent an allergic reaction. It’s true that poison ivy always comes in “leaves of three”, but so do many other plants.

This summer I’m determined to avoid poison ivy like the plague.

Groovy Green Livin poison ivy

Here are a few guidelines to help recognize poison ivy. Follow along and then run…..

Where does it grow?

Everywhere in the US and southern Canada except the far west, deserts and at high altitude.

What does it look like?

Groovy Green Livin poison ivy

  • Poison ivy is a cluster of three leaves at the end of a stem.
    • The center leaf usually (almost always) has a small stem and the two side leaves grow directly from the vine and don’t have stems.
    • The two side leaves are smaller than the middle leaf. The middle leaf will always stick out more than the other two.
    • The three leaves are generally smooth and sometimes have shiny leaves – one extending from the end of the stem and two radiating from the same point a little farther down the stem
    • Poison ivy leaves are generally fatter at the base of the leaf.
    • Some poison ivy has jagged leaves, but not always.
  • Poison ivy can be found as a vine on a tree, ground cover or as a bush.
  • In spring the young leaves may appear bright green and shinny, but the color can fade and the leaf can become waxy later in the season.
  • The leaves will change color in the fall and can turn red or orange.

Best advice: if you’re not sure avoid it!

Do you have any advice for recognizing poison ivy?

photo credit: Jane Kirkland via photopin cc
photo credit: yoctotech via photopin cc
photo credit: fyrefiend via photopin cc

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4 Responses to “How to Recognize Poison Ivy”

  1. Between the poison ivy and the ticks and mosquitos, it’s a wonder that I go outside at all. Thanks so much for this!
    Anne-Marie @ This Mama Cooks! recently posted..Memorial Day party recipe round up!My Profile

  2. I know Anne-Marie! Summer is amazing, but poison ivy throws me over the edge. Ticks and mosquitoes aren’t far behind!

  3. Im thankful for the article.Much thanks again. Much obliged

  4. I hope you’ve posted your natural remedies too. We have poison oak here in CA. Perhaps you could post about that too :)
    Our main strategy is to stay on the trail and away from all foliage. Tough with an 18 month old though.
    Betsy (Eco-novice) recently posted..How to Sell with Confidence on Craig’s ListMy Profile

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About Lori

I’m Lori Popkewitz Alper, a recovering attorney and the Founder of Groovy Green Livin. I like to make noise and stir the pot especially when an issue hits home and effects the health of our families. Join me as I make some noise and share along the way tips for living a green and healthy life. Read more.

Click HERE to contact Lori

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