Question of the Week – Poison Ivy

This week, the question was: What is the vine growing on this tree trunk?

This is poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans). This is a plant that everyone should be able to identify. Around 85% of people are allergic to poison ivy, though sensitivity varies greatly. Poison ivy is native to the Southeast and is recognizable by its three leaflets and hairy-looking vines. Remember the saying, “Leaves of three, let it be.” The shape of the leaflets may confuse some, as they may have toothed margins, as seen above, or smooth margins. All parts of the plant contain urushiol, the oily compound responsible for allergic reactions. For more info and tips on identifying poison ivy, keep reading here.

Those who are particulary observant may have noticed a second vine in the photo on the very left side of the tree. This is another native: crossvine (Bignonia capreolata).

This week’s question is from Justin Ballew, Extension Fruit and Vegetable Research Associate.

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