Poison Ivy

(Toxicodendron radicans)

Below are several slides to help you correctly identify poison ivy, including leaves, flowers, berries, aerial roots, growth habit, habitat, leaf scars and leaf arrangement. All of these slides are included in the Rash Plants app as well as hundreds of additional poison ivy photos. You can download the Rash Plants app for free on the App Store. A full plant profile is below the identification slides.

Poison Ivy Profile

Common Name(s):

eastern poison ivy

Scientific Name:

toxicodendron radicans


Native Range:

from Nova Scotia to British Columbia, from Quebec south to Florida, Texas, and Arizona

USDA Symbol:



• rocky slopes

• floodplain forests

• partially shaded forests

• forest edges

• roadsides

• fencerows

• sodded yards

• disturbed areas (logging, development, fire and floods)

Growth Habit (3):

• shrub

• ground cover

• vine


Stem Description:

• woody, usually gray to reddish brown

• can look "knobby" due to leaf scars

• no thorns or spines on stems

Leaf Description:

• three leaflets, one per node along stem

• compound, trifoliate

• leaves may droop from their stem in a horizontal plane

• fall colors are yellow, bright green, orange, many shades of red and burgundy

Leaf Arrangement:

• alternate


Leaf Margin:

• entire; lobed pointed; lobed rounded; crenate or sinuate

• leaflets are never truly serrate (like a steak knife) but often have large “teeth"


Leaf Scars:

• U or V-shaped in an alternate arrangement along the woody stem

Leaflet Surface:

• shiny or dull; hairy or hairless; fleshy or thin


Flowering Period: 

• early spring

Flower Description:

• small, nondescript greenish-white to white flowers

• grow from leaf axil

Berry Description:

• green and  round emerging from the leaf axil in summer, then turning white to creamy beige in the fall. • • berries may persist over the winter months into spring if they aren't eaten by birds and other wildlife, or if they don't fall naturally

• poison ivy berries have one seed and are called drupes

Benefits of this Species:

• provides food for wildlife during the winter

• is a pioneer species and prepares the soil for more desirable species to inhabit


Other Information:

• is a member of the cashew family