Poison Ivy – the definitive identification guide

One of the neat things about being part of the Bruce Trail Waterfalls Walk was the opportunity to spend two days with Beth Gilhespy and Marsha Russell, Executive Director and Director of Marketing and Communications for the Bruce Trail Conservancy.  Beth and Marcia

You learn things when you are in the company of these women.  Important things, like how really to identify the bane of hikers, Poison Ivy!

All my life I’ve been stumped by poison ivy.  People tell me it has three leaves – do you know how many things in the forest have 3 leaves?  Or I’ve been told to look for something vine-like.  Well, in the end, not particularly helpful either.

So when Beth promised me the definitive method, I was all eyes and ears (and camera).  Here’s the trick: the leaf structure has the three leaves we all know about, but with poison ivy the centre leaf is slightly extended, with the other two directly across from each other.  It can still be confusing.  There are different kinds of poison ivy – sometimes the leaves are smooth-edged, sometimes jagged as in the photos below.  But the common feature is that leaf structure.

Hope that’s as helpful to you as it is to me.  Thanks Beth! magdalena



3 responses to “Poison Ivy – the definitive identification guide

  1. Mary Guldemond

    Helpful, indeed! I am forwarding your blog to hubby, as he and his golfing buddies were puzzling about the very same thing on the golf course yesterday!

  2. It is also a particular shade of green.

  3. Hi there. My name is Anne Bokma and I’m writing a freelance article for the Hamilton Spectator about women’s walking groups in the area. Would love to do a phone interview with you for this story. Can you please drop me a line at annebokma@cogeco.ca? hoping you might be available on Monday to do this – please let me know and thanks! Anne

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