There is no shortage of phrases that we can use to assist with the identification of poison ivy.
Most are lyrical and memorable, but few ever describe the less familiar parts of poison ivy (e.g., winter buds, twigs, flowers, autumn foliage).
Even then, the phrases that do describe the most familiar parts aren’t entirely foolproof:
“Leaflets of three, let it be.” (Many other plants have compound leaves with three leaflets, and I’ve seen poison ivy leaves with only two leaflets.)
“Side leaflets like mittens, will itch like the dickens.” (Side leaflets will oftentimes have no teeth or lobes.)
Needless to say, catchy phrases aren’t always accurate, and field guides that offer one photograph per plant only add to the confusion.
To address the situation, I created a very detailed video that covers key identifying features of poison ivy in every season.
If you’re looking to improve your poison ivy identification skills while reducing the chances of physically contacting the plant, check out the video!