Friday, June 6, 2014

Plant of the Week #2-POISON IVY

Teaching 4 Moments-Plant of the week-Poison Ivy
Poison Ivy

Learn how to quickly identify and teach your kids about Poison Ivy with pictures!

Last year we had a run in with Poison Ivy at our house and I discovered that all I thought I knew about what it looked like, was completely wrong.  My husband and two girls ended up with it all over their bodies so I spent a lot of time online trying to figure out exactly what it looked like.  Surprise! I found that we had some in our yard and while gardening today, I found a bunch more!  I figured now would be a good time to teach my kids more about this plant. My husband says I'm obsessed with it now, but I'm ok with that. (This coming from the man that wasn't so sure about my identifying skills and ended up suffering for weeks because of his lack of faith) 

Hopefully this will save someone else from some suffering.  I ended up...
...having to look at many websites, so this should save you some time.  Can you believe all of these pictures came from my backyard?  I am amazed at how big some of these vines are. ya go!  
8 ways to identify Poison Ivy:

"Leaves of Three, Let it Be!"  
That means that the three leaves are coming out of one single point on the stem.  Two of the leaves will be opposite each other, while the third leaf in the middle will stretch a little taller. 
Leaves of three, let it be!  

In the Spring time, the new leaves will be red.  They will quickly turn green for the rest of Spring and Summer.  In the Fall the leaves will turn various colors before they fall off.
Teaching 4 Moments-Poison ivy red leaf
Poison Ivy red leaf

Leaves are often "glossy" from the oil, but not always.  They can also appear dull.
Teaching 4 Moments-Poison Ivy with glossy leaves
Glossy leaves

The leaflet (the three leaves bunched together) will often look "wilted", with the leaves pointing down. (more often the younger leaf will do this)
Teaching 4 Moments-Poison ivy may have wilted looking leaves
Wilted looking leaves

The edges of the leaves can be smooth, but are most often jagged.  The edges won't match the other side of the leaf.  Some of the leaves can be described as looking like a mitten.
Teaching 4 Moments-Poison ivy leaf edges
Mitten like leaf edges

The stem, or center of the stem where the leaves come out of, will often be red.
Teaching 4 Moments-red center stem in poison ivy
red center in stem

They have small white, yellowish flowers in the Spring.
They grow berries in the Summer and Fall.  The berries start green and then turn a creamy white color.
Teaching 4 Moments-Poison Ivy flowers
Poison Ivy flowers

Teaching 4 Moments-Poison Ivy flowers
Poison Ivy flowers

Poison Ivy can grow in huge vines, attaching themselves to trees and can get very large.  The vines have hairy like roots that attach it to trees.  The leaflets alternate on the vine instead of growing exactly opposite of each other.
Alternating stems on poison ivy vine

Teaching 4 Moments-Poison ivy vine
Poison ivy vine 

Spraying with Roundup will kill it without having to touch it. 

Be Safe!


  1. excellent read! my theme for the month of October with my kids is poisonous plants and animals so this is great information! the only critique i have is you suggesting people use roundup which is obviously terrible for the environment at every level and cancerous for humans. might i suggest a home made natural weed killer like an Epsom salt and vinegar mix?

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