- Virgin's Bower (Clematis virginiana) (also known as Devil's Darning Needles, Devil's Hair, Love Vine, Traveller's Joy, Virginia Virgin's Bower, Wild Hops, and Woodbine; syn. Clematis virginiana L. var. missouriensis (Rydb.) Palmer & Steyermark ) is a vine of the Ranunculaceae family native to the United States. This plant is a vine that can climb up to 10–20 ft tall. It grows on the edges of the woods, moist slopes, and fence rows, and in thickets and streambanks. It produces white, fragrant flowers about an inch in diameter between July and September.
- Box-elder (Acer negundo) saplings have leaves that can look very similar to those of poison ivy, although the symmetry of the plant itself is very different. While box-elders often have five or seven leaflets, three leaflets are also common, especially on smaller saplings. The two can be differentiated by observing the placement of the leaves where the leaf stalk meets the main branch (where the three leaflets are attached). Poison ivy has alternate leaves, which means the three-leaflet leaves alternate along the main branch. The maple (which the box-elder is a type of) has opposite leaves; another leaf stalk directly on the opposite side is characteristic of box-elder.
- Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) vines can look like poison ivy. The younger leaves can consist of three leaflets but have a few more serrations along the leaf edge, and the leaf surface is somewhat wrinkled. However, most Virginia creeper leaves have five leaflets. Virginia creeper and poison ivy very often grow together, even on the same tree. Be aware that even those who do not get an allergic reaction to poison ivy may be allergic to the oxalate crystals in Virginia creeper sap.
- Western Poison-oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum) leaflets also come in threes on the end of a stem, but each leaflet is shaped somewhat like an oak leaf. Western Poison-oak grows only in the western United States and Canada, although many people will refer to poison ivy as poison-oak. This is because poison ivy will grow in either the ivy-like form or the brushy oak-like form depending on the moisture and brightness of its environment. The ivy form likes shady areas with only a little sun, tends to climb the trunks of trees, and can spread rapidly along the ground.
- Poison Sumac (Toxicodendron vernix) has compound leaves with 7–15 leaflets. Poison sumac never has only three leaflets.
- Kudzu (Pueraria lobata) is a non-toxic edible vine that scrambles extensively over lower vegetation or grows high into trees. Kudzu is an invasive species in the southern United States. Like poison ivy, it has three leaflets, but the leaflets are bigger than those of poison ivy and are pubescent underneath with hairy margins.
- Blackberries and raspberries (Rubus spp.) can resemble poison ivy, with which they may share territory; however, blackberries and raspberries almost always have thorns on their stems, whereas poison ivy stems are smooth. Also, the three-leaflet pattern of some blackberry and raspberry leaves changes as the plant grows: Leaves produced later in the season have five leaflets rather than three. Blackberries and raspberries have many fine teeth along the leaf edge, the top surface of their leaves is very wrinkled where the veins are, and the bottom of the leaves is light minty-greenish white. Poison ivy is all green. The stem of poison ivy is brown and cylindrical, while blackberry and raspberry stems can be green, can be squared in cross-section, and can have prickles. Raspberries and blackberries are never truly vines; that is, they do not attach to trees to support their stems.
- The thick vines of Riverbank Grape (Vitis riparia), with no rootlets visible, differ from the vines of poison ivy, which have so many rootlets that the stem going up a tree looks furry. Riverbank grape vines are purplish in colour, tend to hang away from their support trees, and have shreddy bark; poison ivy vines are brown, attached to their support trees, and do not have shreddy bark.
- Fragrant Sumac (Rhus aromatica) has a very similar appearance to poison ivy. While both species have three leaflets, the center leaflet of poison ivy is on a long stalk, while the center leaflet of fragrant sumac does not have an obvious stalk. When crushed, fragrant sumac leaves have a fragrance similar to citrus while poison ivy has little or no distinct fragrance. Fragrant sumac produces flowers before the leaves in the spring, while poison ivy produces flowers after the leaves emerge. Flowers and fruits of fragrant sumac are at the end of the stem, but occur along the middle of the stem of poison ivy. Fragrant sumac fruit ripens to a deep reddish color and is covered with tiny hairs while poison ivy fruit is smooth and ripens to a whitish color.
- Hoptree (Ptelea trifoliata) has leaves that are remarkably similar. It is, however, a much larger plant so confusion is unlikely for any but the smallest specimens. The flowers and seeds are also easily distinguished from those of poison ivy.
Read more about this topic: Toxicodendron Radicans
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