Organic Gardening

12 Plants That Look Like Poison Ivy

The old saying goes, “leaves of three, let it be.” But what happens when those leaves of three aren’t poison ivy?

Poison Ivy
Poison Ivy

Believe it or not, many plants closely resemble poison ivy; it can be difficult to tell them apart. In this post, I’ll look at plants that look like poison ivy, so you can stay safe while exploring the great outdoors.


1. Fragrant Sumac (Rhus aromatica)

Fragrant Sumac
Fragrant Sumac

The Fragrant Sumac is a plant that will delight your senses with its aromatic fragrance. Its leaves emit a spicy scent reminiscent of citrus and cinnamon, which can be enjoyed from afar.

This hardy shrub also produces clusters of bright red berries in the fall, adding a pop of color to your garden.

Botanical Name: Rhus aromatica
Growth Rate: Medium
Native Range: Eastern North America
Hardiness Zones: 3-9
Exposure: Full sun
Soil Needs: Well-drained soil
Tolerate: Drought, erosion
Dangers: None known
Differences in Appearance to Poison Ivy It has leaves divided into three leaflets that are broader, slightly fuzzy, and turn reddish-orange in the fall, with small red hairy berries. In contrast, Poison Ivy has smooth-edged, pointed leaflets and small white berries that can cause a poisonous reaction.
Water Needs: Low
Fragrant Sumac Growing Guide Chart

2. Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)

Virginia Creeper
Virginia Creeper

The Virginia Creeper is a fast-growing vine often found climbing up the sides of houses and trees.

Its five-fingered leaves turn a brilliant shade of red in the fall, creating a lovely display. This versatile plant is also known for attracting wildlife, making it a popular choice for nature lovers.

Botanical Name: Parthenocissus quinquefolia
Growth Rate: Fast
Native Range: Eastern and Central North America
Hardiness Zones: 3-9
Exposure: Full sun
Soil Needs: Well-drained soil
Tolerate: Shade
Dangers: Skin irritation for some people
Differences in Appearance to Poison Ivy Five toothed leaflets, whereas Poison Ivy has three smooth-edged and pointed leaflets. Virginia Creeper also typically has a more vibrant and uniform green color, while Poison Ivy may have variations in color and texture.
Water Needs: Medium
Virginia Creeper Growing Guide Chart

3. Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum)

Jack in the pulpit
Jack-in-the-pulpit

The Jack-in-the-pulpit is a unique plant that looks like something straight out of a fairy tale. Its distinctive flowers are hooded and striped, resembling a tiny preacher standing in a pulpit.

This woodland plant is also a favorite of pollinators, attracting bees, butterflies, and other insects with its nectar.

Botanical Name: Arisaema triphyllum
Growth Rate: Slow
Native Range: Eastern North America
Hardiness Zones: 4-9
Exposure: Part shade
Soil Needs: Rich, moist soil
Tolerate: Deer
Dangers: All parts toxic
Differences in Appearance to Poison Ivy Unlike Poison Ivy’s smooth-edged, pointed leaflets, it has three-parted, lobed leaves and a distinctive flower spike.
Water Needs: High
Jack-in-the-pulpit Growing Guide Chart

4. Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata)

Boston ivy
Boston ivy

The Boston Ivy is a hardy vine often used to cover walls and other structures.

Its leaves turn a striking red in the fall, making it a popular choice for adding color to buildings. This plant is also low-maintenance and easy to care for, making it a great choice for busy gardeners.

Botanical Name: Parthenocissus tricuspidata
Growth Rate: Fast
Native Range: Eastern Asia
Hardiness Zones: 4-8
Exposure: Full sun
Soil Needs: Well-drained soil
Tolerate: Salt, pollution
Dangers: None known
Differences in Appearance to Poison Ivy Three-lobed leaves with a glossy texture and adhesive pads, different from Poison Ivy’s smooth-edged, pointed leaflets.
Water Needs: Medium
Boston Ivy Growing Guide Chart

5. Wild Strawberry (Fragaria vesca)

Wild Strawberry
Wild Strawberry

The Wild Strawberry is a charming little plant that produces sweet, juicy fruit. Its delicate white flowers give way to small, flavorful berries that humans and wildlife enjoy.

This ground-covering plant is also low-maintenance and easy to grow, making it a great choice for beginning gardeners.

Botanical Name: Fragaria vesca
Growth Rate: Slow
Native Range: Northern Hemisphere
Hardiness Zones: 3-10
Exposure: Full sun
Soil Needs: Well-drained soil
Tolerate: Drought
Dangers: None known
Differences in Appearance to Poison Ivy Three-parted, toothed leaves and white flowers with yellow centers, in contrast to Poison Ivy’s smooth-edged, pointed leaflets and clusters of small white berries.
Water Needs: Medium
Wild Strawberry Growing Guide Chart

6. Bushkiller Vine (Cayratia japonica)

Bushkiller Vine
Bushkiller Vine

The Bushkiller Vine is a fast-growing plant that can overtake other vegetation. Its heart-shaped leaves and delicate flowers make it attractive, but it can be invasive and harmful to other plants.

Botanical Name: Cayratia japonica
Growth Rate: Fast
Native Range: Eastern Asia
Hardiness Zones: 6-9
Exposure: Full sun
Soil Needs: Well-drained soil
Tolerate: None known
Dangers: All parts toxic
Differences in Appearance to Poison Ivy Large, heart-shaped leaves and grape-like clusters of fruit, not similar to Poison Ivy’s smooth-edged, pointed leaflets.
Water Needs: Medium
Bushkiller Vine Growing Guide Chart

7. Dewberry (Rubus caesius)

Dewberry
Dewberry

The Dewberry is a bramble that produces delicious, juicy berries. Its thorny branches and delicate white flowers make it an interesting addition to any garden and a favorite of pollinators.

This plant is also very low-maintenance, making it a great choice for those who want to enjoy fresh berries without much fuss.

Botanical Name: Rubus caesius
Growth Rate: Medium to fast
Native Range: Eastern North America
Hardiness Zones: 5-9
Exposure: Full sun
Soil Needs: Well-drained soil
Tolerate: Drought
Dangers: None known
Differences in Appearance to Poison Ivy It has leaves with toothed edges and clusters of edible berries, unlike Poison Ivy’s smooth-edged, pointed leaflets and small white berries.
Water Needs: High
Dewberry Growing Guide Chart

8. Box Elder (Acer negundo)

Box Elder
Box Elder

The Box Elder is a fast-growing tree often used for landscaping. Its delicate leaves turn a beautiful yellow in the fall, making it a great choice for adding color to your yard.

This tree is also tolerant of a wide range of soil types, making it a versatile addition to any landscape.

Botanical Name: Acer negundo
Growth Rate: Fast
Native Range: Eastern and Central North America
Hardiness Zones: 2-9
Exposure: Full sun
Soil Needs: Moist soil
Tolerate: Drought, salt
Dangers: None known
Differences in Appearance to Poison Ivy It has leaves with three to five toothed leaflets, different from Poison Ivy’s smooth-edged, pointed leaflets.
Water Needs: High
Box Elder Growing Guide Chart

9. Raspberry Bush (Rubus idaeus)

Raspberry Bush
Raspberry Bush

The Raspberry is a popular fruiting plant that produces delicious berries. Its thorny branches and delicate white flowers make it an attractive addition to any garden and a favorite of pollinators.

This plant is also easy to grow and care for, making it a great choice for beginners.

Botanical Name: Rubus idaeus
Growth Rate: Moderate to fast-growing shrub
Native Range: Europe, Northern Asia, North America
Hardiness Zones: 3-9
Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
Soil Needs: Well-drained, fertile soil with average moisture
Tolerate: Deer, drought, and poor soil
Dangers: None known
Differences in Appearance to Poison Ivy It has leaves with toothed edges and clusters of edible berries, unlike Poison Ivy’s smooth-edged, pointed leaflets and small white berries.
Water Needs: Regular watering, but drought-tolerant once established
Raspberry Growing Guide Chart

10. Common Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)

Common Jewelweed
Common Jewelweed

Common Jewelweed is a plant often found growing near streams and other bodies of water. Its delicate orange flowers are a favorite of hummingbirds, and its sap relieves itching and other skin irritations.

This plant is also easy to grow and care for, making it a great choice for naturalizing areas near water sources. Jewelweed also has a tendency to grow near Poison Ivy so be sure to look twice when you see these spotted flowers, their not as innocent as they may seem. 

Botanical Name: Impatiens capensis
Growth Rate: Fast-growing herbaceous plant
Native Range: Eastern North America
Hardiness Zones: 3-9
Exposure: Partial to full shade
Soil Needs: Moist, well-drained soil
Tolerate: Wet soil, shade, and deer
Dangers: None known
Differences in Appearance to Poison Ivy Unlike Poison Ivy’s smooth-edged, pointed leaflets, it has leaves with jagged edges and distinctive trumpet-shaped flowers.
Water Needs: Regular watering; prefers moist soil
Common Jewelweed Growing Guide Chart

11. Evergreen Clematis (Clematis vitalba)

Evergreen Clematis
Evergreen Clematis

The Evergreen Clematis is a climbing vine that adds a touch of elegance to any garden. Its dark green leaves are evergreen, providing year-round interest, and its small white flowers bloom in the summer, attracting pollinators.

This plant is also low-maintenance, making it a great choice for busy gardeners who still want to enjoy a beautiful display.

Botanical Name: Clematis vitalba
Growth Rate: Fast-growing vine
Native Range: Europe, Western Asia, North Africa
Hardiness Zones: 4-9
Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
Soil Needs: Well-drained soil with average moisture
Tolerate: Drought, poor soil, and deer
Dangers: None known
Differences in Appearance to Poison Ivy Unlike Poison Ivy’s smooth-edged, pointed leaflets, it has compound and evergreen leaves with a leathery texture.
Water Needs: Regular watering, but drought-tolerant once established
Evergreen Clematis Growing Guide Chart

12. Hog-Peanut (Amphicarpaea bracteata)

Hog Peanut
Hog-Peanut

The Hog Peanut is a unique plant that produces underground and above-ground seeds. Its delicate, vine-like stems can reach up to six feet long, making it a great choice for trellises or other structures.

This plant also produces small, edible nuts, which squirrels and wild turkeys enjoy. Its ability to thrive in various soil types makes it a versatile addition to any garden.

Botanical Name: Amphicarpaea bracteata
Growth Rate: Fast-growing vine
Native Range: Eastern North America
Hardiness Zones: 4-8
Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
Soil Needs: Well-drained soil with average moisture
Tolerate: Drought, poor soil, and deer
Dangers: None known
Differences in Appearance to Poison Ivy Unlike Poison Ivy’s smooth-edged, pointed leaflets, it has leaves with three leaflets and edible legumes.
Water Needs: Regular watering, but drought-tolerant once established
Hog-Peanut Growing Guide Chart

Final Thoughts

So, there you have it – 12 plants that look like poison ivy.

It’s always a good idea to be cautious when you’re out in nature, but knowing what to look for can help put your mind at ease.

If you come into contact with poison ivy, wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical attention if necessary.

Happy exploring!



Originally Posted Here

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