It pays to be prepared. Before heading outside, know what poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac plants look like to prevent accidental contact. Remember to wear protective clothing (long sleeves, high socks, gloves, etc.) whenever possible to avoid coming in contact with oils on leaves and stems. To keep everyone safe, show friends or family members what poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac look like before heading into the backyard, going to the park, or hitting the hiking trail.
Tips to Identify Poison Ivy
- Compound leaves with three leaflets (leading to the saying “leaves of three, let it be”)
- The stalk of the middle leaflet is much longer than the stalks of the two side leaflets.
- The edges can be smooth or coarsely toothed.
- Surface can be glossy or dull
- May contain clusters of small grayish-white, hard berries (leading to the saying “berries of white, run in fright”)
Tips to Identify Poison OAK
- Poison Oak can look very similar to Poison Ivy
- Has 3 leaves and tends to grow in dry, sandy areas
- Small green berries that have a fuzzy appearance
Tips to Identify Poison SUMAC
- Typically found in wetland areas in the eastern part of the US
- Stems are red
- Leaves are smooth around the edges
- Berries are small, smooth and green in color