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Identification, Please
poison-ivy-sumac-oak.jpgUnfortunately, poison ivy, oak and sumac don't grow with little picture ID badges around their stems, so you have to know what to look for. The famous rule "leaves of three, let it be" is good to follow, except that some of the plants don't always play by the rules and have leaves in groups of five to nine. To avoid these plants and their itchy consequences, here's what to look for.

    Poison Ivy

  • grows around lakes and streams in the Midwest and the East
  • woody, ropelike vine, a trailing shrub on the ground, or a free-standing shrub
  • normally three leaflets (groups of leaves all on the same small stem coming off the larger main stem), but may vary from groups of three to nine
  • leaves are green in the summer and red in the fall
  • yellow or green flowers and white berries

    Poison Oak

  • eastern (from New Jersey to Texas) grows as a low shrub; western (along the Pacific coast) grows to 6-foot-tall clumps or vines up to 30 feet long
  • oak-like leaves, usually in clusters of three
  • clusters of yellow berries

    Poison Sumac

  • grows in boggy areas, especially in the Southeast
  • rangy shrub up to 15 feet tall
  • seven to 13 smooth-edged leaflets
  • glossy pale yellow or cream-colored berries
          --I.B.S.

Source: http://www.fda.gov/fdac/features/796_ivy.html
 

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