Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - November 11, 2015

From: Ringgold, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: General Botany, Poisonous Plants, Vines
Title: Is Poison ivy always rooted in the ground?
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

Does Poison ivy on a tree always start at the ground and climb up the tree or can it start producing its vine and leaves by itself at the top of the tree or middle?

ANSWER:

There are three subspecies of Toxicodendron radicans (Eastern poison ivy), all similar in appearance.  Poison ivy can grow as a small shrub or as a vine tightly attached to a tree or wall.  In all cases the vine derives all its sustenance from its own roots.  The many aerial rootlets that sometimes attach the vine to a tree trunk may look as though they penetrate into the tree and extract nutrients, but they only serve to hold the vine to the surface of the bark.

 

From the Image Gallery


Eastern poison ivy
Toxicodendron radicans ssp. radicans

More General Botany Questions

Drawings of Illinois native wildflowers
July 15, 2006 - I am looking for line drawings of Illinois Native Wildflowers to use for educational material for visitors to our new City Park. We plan to have signs throughout the park describing how Native Americ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on Science Fair projects
September 13, 2005 - I would like to know what kind of plants can grow in two weeks? Please answer quickly so I can do my Science Fair project.
view the full question and answer

Native subarctic plants
March 26, 2008 - I'm doing a project on subarctic things and I have to have subarctic plants in it. I need to know a few and about them. Can you help?
view the full question and answer

Possible reasons for yellow heads for Indian Blanket
December 13, 2005 - I had Indian Blanket flowers that had almost pure yellow heads. Will the seeds of these flowers produce plants that will have yellow flowers?
view the full question and answer

Are Prunus minutiflora male and female flowers on different plants?
March 12, 2014 - I have a Prunus minutiflora and have recently learned the male and female flowers are on separate plants. How can I determine if I have a male or female plant?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.