Can you tell the difference between poison ivy seedlings and red maple seedlings? Early spring when both begin to grow (and quite often occupy the same habitat) these two seedlings may cause some confusion. Right now they are both a couple of inches tall and easy to miss in your lawn or garden. In the photos below you can see the obvious differences, which will hopefully help you identify them and avoid making a mistake and winding up with contact dermatitis, i.e. the itchy poison ivy rash.
Unless it has been browsed, poison ivy has three leaftlets per leaf which are alternate along the stem. The seedling leaflets can be red or green and fuzzy, shiny or dull. Red maple has a simple leaf, which grows opposite along the stem and can be red or green as well, but not usually fuzzy. See below.
Poison ivy seedlings vary in appearance as much as they do in habitat, so be on the lookout for those inconspicuous seedlings since they can deliver a nice dose of urushiol to that bare, unsuspecting forearm while gardening.
Check out our Rash Plants app for more identification tips for poison ivy, oak and sumac and stay safe this spring!