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Environmental Studies

Toxicodendron radicans (Poison Ivy) Anacardiaceae

poison ivy flowers

  • Poison ivy should be avoided at all cost. Poison ivy can cause a skin rash that is very hurtful and unappealing — there is an oil in the plant caused urushiol. The rash is caused by contact with the plant directly on skin.

    Physical characteristics

    Leaf: Poison ivy has three shiny green leaves with a red stem and grows as a shrub. It is can also be a vine on trees and buildings

    Flower | Seeds: Common poison ivy has clusters of flowers in the axis of each leaf.




    Relationship with other species

    Non-human: Poison ivy does not tend to effect animals, possibly due to their fur, however it is possible for the animal to pass the rash on to a human it comes in contact with if the human touches the effected area.  

    Humans: People need to be very careful in recognizing poison ivy. The plant can grow in a number of different ways and the leaves can have dramatic variations in how they look.


    Poison Ivy can grow in different ways, which can make it harder to detect to the untrained eye.
    • As ground cover close to the edges of trails.

    • As a vine. Poison ivy vines can grow as thick as an arm. In this state it  can reach amazing heights on trees or the sides of buildings.

    • It can also grow as shrub free standing up to ten feet.


     Page drafted by Donald A. Stanley




    • The rash is not contagious.
    • The best way to prevent poisoning is to avoid contact with them.
    • The rash can show up as soon as eight hours after contact or as long as fifteen days.
    • Some people have poison ivy growing on their home for the look of it?
    • Click here for more information

    Poison Ivy in its vine state.Poison Ivy in its vine state.