Is this young poison ivy?
August 21, 2016 9:20 AM   Subscribe

Looking for botanist/gardener/scout/lumberjane input on whether this reddish and greenish plant is poison ivy.

I'm torn because although it has clear leaf groupings of three that are pointed and smooth edged, it also has occasional groupings of two coming out of the stems, which doesn't seem very poison ivy-esque.

Is this poison ivy or a sneaky DC metro area imposter, and what are your best recommendations to get rid of it?
posted by donut_princess to Home & Garden (12 answers total)
It does not look what I'm used to calling poison ivy. But then I googled it and it turns out it comes in a few shapes and sizes. For what it's worth I'm used to leaves that are a bit more ragged - or at least not one smooth arc - and a bit wider.
posted by phil at 9:34 AM on August 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

No, nothing like the poison ivy I'm familiar with in western PA.
posted by jon1270 at 9:35 AM on August 21, 2016

Best answer: Looks like Nandina domestica (aka Heavenly Bamboo)

But could be an aralia ...
posted by sciencegeek at 9:36 AM on August 21, 2016 [4 favorites]

I don't think that's poison ivy; poison ivy leaves are usually wider than that, and usually have telltale notches on the outside edges.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:36 AM on August 21, 2016

I don't think so. In addition to the triple leaflets at the end of each petiole, it looks like many of the petioles have another pair of leaflets further back.
posted by brianogilvie at 9:39 AM on August 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I don't think it's poison ivy, the leaves are too smooth edged, narrow, and the stalk structure doesn't seem right to me. It's quite possible that poison ivy looks different on the east coast though.

If you intend to get rid of it regardless, here's a good way to do that safely:
Put on heavy rubber gloves, the yellow elbow-length scrubber kind, cover all exposed skin and wear clothing you wouldn't mind tossing. Get a large garbage bag, a can or stand to hold it open, and several of the heaviest duty shopping bags (thick, mind you, like what you might get at a hardware store or the like.
Cover your hands with the gloves, then slip the bags over the gloves. Start pulling at the base of the root, slowly, and remove the plant. Carefully deposit the plant and the shopping bag into the garbage bag, being careful not to touch you hands or the plant to the outside of the bag (for the garbage collector's safety.) and repeat as necessary. If a plant tears at the root, pour un-diluted vinegar on the area and check back to ensure it doesn't grow back.
Make sure the garbage bag fully contains all of the plants, and dispose of like normal. Shower in cold water without soap and wash any clothes in cold water, also without soap.
posted by neonrev at 9:40 AM on August 21, 2016

i agree with the nandina assessment- i've had it at houses for the past dozen years. It's pretty if pruned and kept to a small bush but likes to overgrow itself and tumble over.
posted by noloveforned at 9:45 AM on August 21, 2016

+1 Nandina
posted by humboldt32 at 9:45 AM on August 21, 2016

Best answer: Not poison ivy. In your pic, it looks like the leaves are on stalks arranged "oppositely", whereas poison ivy's are always "alternate" - see point 3 here for more on opposite vs alternate leaf arrangement in poison ivy.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:46 AM on August 21, 2016 [5 favorites]

I agree with Nandina.
posted by Spathe Cadet at 10:17 AM on August 21, 2016

Definitely Nandina - my yard is full if it. Can be very beautiful if kept pruned the size of s a small bush - with its red berries.
posted by pamspanda at 11:30 AM on August 21, 2016

I have nandina plants, am almost deathly allergic to poison ivy, and live in the same metro area. Definitely nandina, even-more-definitely not poison ivy.

This quiz is good training for future identification efforts.
posted by musicinmybrain at 6:02 AM on August 22, 2016

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