Being able to identify poison ivy is a handy skill to have, regardless of whether you ever find yourself out in the wild. This evening, on our nightly walk around our neighborhood in Austin, Texas, we found a huge sprig of it growing out of an ivy wall near where Trooper usually hikes his leg.
Don’t worry, I stopped him before he could raise a paw.
What to Look For
– Three leaves coming from a central point
– Red (or hint of red) in the stems
– Soft edges to the leaves
Some plants that meet the top two characteristics–dewberry, for example–but have jagged edges and therefore take on a more malicious appearance, but poison ivy is rounded and harmless looking. That’s all part of its plan.
And upon closer inspection, you’ll notice the veins in the leaves are asymmetrical.
It took me a while to get to where I could confidently say, “Yep, that’s poison ivy,” when I passed it on the trail. (I may or may not have gotten a C in my plant identification class in college.)(Whoops.)
But I can confirm the above picture is indeed poison ivy! Hope this helps you. Happy hiking.