Summer is the time for itchy things, especially poison ivy. Here’s a timely lesson about leaves.
Do you know how to recognize poison ivy? Here’s what makes it different:
- Only 3 leaflets on the leaf stem. Never extra leaflets.
- Lower leaves are lopsided; outer edge is longer than inner edge.
- Leaves have notched edges, not saw-toothed.
- Center leaf has a long stem. Side leaves have no stems.
- No thorns at all.
- Grows either on the ground or as a climbing hairy vine (the “hairs” are rootlets).
- Its compound leaves are alternate on the main stem; noticeable on the vine. (The 3 leaflets make up a compound leaf.)
The slideshow below illustrates most of these characteristics.
On Throw Back Thursday: Learn more at this vintage article from 2009: Look But Don’t Touch.
p.s. Most animals are immune to poison ivy. Birds eat its berries. Deer eat the stems and leaves. Ladybugs and flies walk on it without any reaction!
(photos by Kate St. John)