Friday, May 21, 2010

Leaves of three…

I grew up with that threaded into my subconscious, those three leaves were to be the way to tell if a plant was poison ivy or oak.  Well, as a kid that’s great you just go about your business and avoid anything with three leaves, no problem.  What happens though when you become a gardener and lo and behold, some of the things you grow look remarkably similar!  If you are a gardener like me chances are you might have possibly, by mistake, pulled up a plant that looked a lot like that leaves of three culprit only to find out later, that it wasn’t (in which case if you are like me you may actually shed a tear when you realize it was something you really, really wanted to have growing!!!)
So today I’m going to share some pictures with you of some plants that could be mistaken for poison ivy, but that aren’t. 
DSC_0049 These are trillium a lovely flower that blooms in the spring, these are young trillium that have spread on their own.  They are also why I’m posting this today..because alas, I mistakenly pulled up several smaller ones before I realized the error.  I’m not sure if there is anything as painful as realizing you’ve just ripped out baby plants of something you’ve been trying to get established in your garden!
DSC_0050   This looks deceptively like poison oak/ivy but it’s not, it’s called Honewort.  It gets tall and blooms with delicate white flowers.  The size and thickness of the stem as an adult plant was the dead giveaway that it wasn’t the dreaded ivy.  
 DSC_0052 This is a Virginia Creeper vine climbing up a tree.  Not really the three leaf threat, but many people think it’s poison ivy.  I guess because it climbs and because it also turns a beautiful red in the fall.  It’s a native vine and I’m happy to have it all over my property!
DSC_0053  This looks like it but look closer and you’ll see it’s just a standard bramble.  Poison ivy doesn’t have thorns, so while care needs to be used when pulling this up, it isn’t because it’s going to make you break out with little red bumps!
Now in case you run across something in your yard that you think might be poison ivy but you aren’t sure here is a great site to help you out. It’s called Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac Information Center.  I don’t know if they still do it or not, but for a while they’ve been identifying pictures and telling people if it’s one of the itchy three.  Just going through that gallery will help you see what is and isn’t one of the little stinkers.
Oh and I would have happily posted a picture of the stuff growing in my gardens somewhere, if I could have found any!  The two places that it was recently, I pulled it out using a plastic shopping bag over my gloved hand and arm.  That’s my preferred method of removal, because it’s usually only a piece or two, thankfully!

No comments: