Plant Comparison-Toxicodendron And Parthenocissus

Additional Information:

Scientific Name: Plant comparison-Toxicodendron and Parthenocissus
Common Name: Plant Comparison-Poison Ivy and Virginia Creeper
Family: Anacardiaceae/Vitaceae
Locale: Pisgah National Forest
Specific Region: outside Barnardsville, NC
Description: These two plants are sometimes confused, especially in early Spring. On the left is Poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans, Anacardiaceae) and on the right is Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Vitaceae). In Spring they both exhibit shiny young leaves and can also grow near each together especially along disturbed ground. Both are palmately compound leaves, each leaf composed of leaflets originating from a central point. The biggest difference is that Poison ivy has 3 leaflets and Virginia creeper usually 5, though uncommonly 3. An important point is that Poison ivy has a lot of variability in shape and coloration, but always 3 leaflets. The next difference is that Virginia creeper has teeth along the margins while Poison ivy generally does not. Look at many leaflets of the same plant to see if the teeth along the margin of the leaflets are consistent, as they will be in Virginia creeper. The leaflets of Poison ivy also tend to be somewhat irregularly shaped, if you look at different leaflets you will often find an assortment of lobe shapes amongst them. There are other differences, but these are a few good beginner tips
Date: April 21, 2011
Skip to content