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Toxicodendron radicans (Eastern poison ivy)
Marcus, Joseph A.

Toxicodendron radicans

Toxicodendron radicans (L.) Kuntze

Eastern Poison Ivy, Poison Ivy

Anacardiaceae (Sumac Family)


USDA Symbol: TORA2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

Upright, climbing, or trailing shrub that bears small yellowish-white flower clusters; old stems, covered with fibrous roots, look hairy. Poison Ivy is extremely variable in form, occurring as a ground cover along roadsides, an erect shrub (especially in sandy coastal areas), or a large vine on trees. Red fall foliage is especially conspicuous.


From the Image Gallery

15 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub , Vine
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Trifoliate
Leaf Shape: Ovate
Leaf Margin: Dentate
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Fruit Type: Drupe
Size Notes: Up to about 18 inches tall on forest floor. Up to about 5 feet tall when shrub-like. Up to about 100 feet long as a vine.
Autumn Foliage: yes
Fruit: Amber 1/4 inch diameter.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Green , Brown
Bloom Time: Feb , Mar , Apr , May , Jun


USA: AL , AR , AZ , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , NE , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: AB , NB , NS , ON , PE , QC
Native Distribution: Throughout the East; Ontario east to Nova Scotia, south to Florida, west to Texas, and north to South Dakota and Minnesota.
Native Habitat: Dry to Moist areas Woodland to Streambed

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Conditions Comments: Beautiful Orange to Deep Red Fall Color


Warning: POISONOUS PARTS: All parts, in all seasons if plant sap contacted. Severe skin irritation upon contact. Symptoms include severe skin redness, itching, swelling, and blisters following direct or indirect contact. Toxic Principle: Urushiol.
Interesting Foliage: yes
Attracts: Butterflies
Deer Resistant: High

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Removal of bramble under live oaks and replacing with groundcover
September 26, 2007
We have several large live oaks on the front of our 12 acre property in Hockley, Texas. Under and around each oak is an extensive amount of bramble which we would like to remove so that we can enjoy ...
view the full question and answer

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
Crosby Arboretum - Picayune, MS
Nueces River Authority - Uvalde, TX
Texas Master Naturalists - Lost Pines Chapter - Bastrop, TX
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
Jacob's Well Natural Area - Wimberley, TX

Herbarium Specimen(s)

NPSOT 0320 Collected May 22, 1987 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe

1 specimen(s) available in the Digital Herbarium


Bibref 354 - Native & Naturalized Woody Plants of Austin & the Hill Country (1981) Lynch, D.
Bibref 663 - Poisonous Plants of North Carolina (1994) Vondracek, W. ; L. Van Asch

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 57 - Atlas of Florida Plants (2020) Institute for Systematic Botany
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1985 VOL. 2, NO.3 - Greenhouse Assists Research, Wild color on the Hills, Director's Report, Clearin...

Additional resources

USDA: Find Toxicodendron radicans in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Toxicodendron radicans in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Toxicodendron radicans


Record Modified: 2023-05-25
Research By: NPC

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