What Is The Difference Between
Poison Ivy, Poison Oak and Poison Sumac?
Poison ivy is a climbing vine that grows plentifully in the eastern and central United States, including southern Canada and the mountain areas of Mexico. It may grow as a shrub also up to 3.9 feet tall. It does not require much soil moisture for it survive, but they don’t favor very dry areas also like in the desert. It lives in a soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.9, which is alkalinic.
Poison ivy is characterized by shiny, three pointed leaves. The leaves appear red in early spring, and then turn into shiny green in later spring, and red or orange in autumn. The mature leaves are the ones colored dark green.
They are shiny. The younger ones are those colored light green. Each of it leaflets may have teeth or none at all at the edge, and the surface appears smooth. During late spring, the flowers of poison ivy appear from the leaf axils. It contains five petals. The color is off white with a tinge of yellow or green. Poison ivy multiplies vegetatively or sexually. It is dioecious, which means its female and male reproductive organs occur on separate individuals. They are sexually distinct. And it contains the very well know urushiol, an oil which triggers an allergic reaction to people who come in contact with it.
Poison oak is any of several species of shrub of the genus Rhus, common in North America. It is also know as western poison oak, with a scientific name of Toxicodendron diversilobum. In shady places, it may grow as a climbing vine. In sunny areas, it forms a leafy shrub. During winter, it loses its leaves. It thrives on abandoned lands and uncultivated fields. Every year, a lot of people are affected with moderate to severe dermatitis by just touching this plant. For poison oak contains urushiol, the same oil found in poison ivy.
Poison sumac like poison oak is a woody shrub. It can grow as high as twenty feet tall. It survives on wet areas like on bays, swamps and forest slopes. Its leaves are pinnate and each contains seven to fifteen leaflets. The stem appears reddish and smooth but turns to light gray as it ages. Poison sumac may sometimes be confused with winged sumac. Their striking difference is winged sumac has nine to twenty-three shiny leaflets and that its fruits are colored red. The same as poison ivy and oak, poison sumac contains the very irritating oil, urushiol which causes skin rashes and in rare cases anaphylaxis.