Poison ivy

Toxicodendron radicans (L.) Ktze.

Life cycle

Perennial woody vine.

poison ivy plant
Poison ivy foliage.


Alternate, compound with three shiny leaflets. Leaflet margins may be smooth, toothed or lobed. The side leaflets occur on very short stalks; the middle leaflet occurs on a much longer stalk. Leaves may turn bright red in the fall. Contact with any part of this plant can cause a reaction in sensitive people.

poison ivy leaf
Compound leaf of poison ivy.


Shrubby or climbing, woody vines are supported by aerial roots.

poison ivy aerial root
Poison ivy aerial roots.

Flowers and fruit

Small, inconspicuous, yellow to green flowers have five petals. Fruit are gray to white berries (drupes).

poison flower
Poison ivy flower.


Seeds, creeping roots and stems, which may root if in contact with the ground.

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The MSU IPM Program maintains this site as an access point to pest management information at MSU. The IPM Program is administered within the Department of Entomology, fueled by research from the AgBioResearch, delivered to citizens through MSU Extension, and proud to be a part of Project GREEEN.