Poison Ivy vs. Virginia Creeper
With many summer attractions closed or limited due to COVID-19, people are heading into the great outdoors. As you’re exploring nature, you don’t want to have a run-in with the dreaded poison ivy.
We all know the saying goes, “leaves of three, leave them be.” Poison ivy can appear in many different sizes and forms. The three-leaved bandits can be found in the form of a vine, shrub, or ground covering.
Many people confuse poison ivy with a common plant: Virginia creeper. They have similarly shaped leaves, but the key difference is their number of leaves. Virginia creeper has five leaves on each stem, and this plant is harmless.
Graphic by Michaela Parker
Marie Rogers, MSU Extension Agent in Itawamba County, shared a helpful video on Facebook that shows the distinct differences between poison ivy and Virginia creeper.
You don’t want to have to learn this lesson the hard way! Whenever you’re outside and see an unfamiliar plant, be sure to double check the number of leaves before you proceed. If you happen to come across poison ivy, immediately wash your hands with soap and cold water. It’s also a good idea to wash your clothes in case the leaves brushed against them.
If you’d like more information on how to identify poison ivy, check out Extension Information Sheet 0642, “Identifying Poison Ivy.”
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