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Debunking The Myth: Can Poison Ivy Have 5 Leaves?

A proverb, “Leaves of three, let it be,” best refers to the number of Poison Ivy leaves, generally 5 leaves myth.

Generally, the Poison Ivy has three spoon-shaped glossy leaves with a pointed mid-leaf and a smooth or sometimes serrated edge. In this case, the plant with the five leaves is the Virginia Creeper, often mistaken for Poison Ivy at the early stage.

The leaves and berries can help to identify the Poison Ivy. So stay with the article and clear all the doubt on Poison Ivy and its toxicity, if any.

What Kind Of Poison Ivy Has 5 Leaves?

Poison Ivy is a perennial vining plant that has spread its root throughout the United States as a creeper or takes up a bushy look as a shrub.

Noticing the Poison Ivy while trekking or cycling is expected since the trails are filled with vines similar to Ivy’s, but do not mistake the vines having 5 leaves as Ivy.

The creeper on the trees with the 5 leaves is Virginia Creeper, and to differentiate clearly, the ones with 7 leaves are Poison Oak, unlike Poison Ivy.
The leaves of Poison ivy by the house edge
The axis where the triplet leaves join with the stem is red.

Instead, Poison Ivy runs along the ground or vines up to the tree trunks, walls and slopes by stretching hairy rootlets along the stem to give 3 leaves per axis.

They change their color based on the season, appearing red in spring, green in summer and yellow to orange in fall.

Is Five Leaf Poison Ivy Poisonous?

Only the name Poison Ivy is enough to conclude that it is a poisonous plant that initiates rashes on the skin, even with a touch.

Poison Ivy is one of the worst weeds containing a natural oil named urushiol, which is responsible for allergic reactions that can last for 3 weeks even after medications.

If you have touched the Poison Ivy with 5 leaves, do not worry about any toxicity, as it is possibly the Virginia Creeper that grows alongside the Ivy and resembles it.

Virginia Creeper is not poisonous to humans. Still, it can initiate discomfort if chewed, but Poison Ivy is in the league of English Ivy, Poison Oak and Sumac in case of toxicity.

Some common symptoms are itchy rashes, difficulty breathing and blisters that last a month, resulting in ugly bumps.

So before the situation worsens, treat the Poison Ivy toxicity at home by following the given remedies.

  • Wash off the touch area immediately with soap water.
  • Use a cool compressor over the affected area several times daily to reduce the swell.
  • You can also try taking oatmeal baths as it helps to ease the skin and reduce inflammation.
  • Aloe Vera gel is another home remedy to treat the Poison Ivy reaction, which speeds up healing.
  • Raw-cut Potatoes and Cucumbers slices can reduce rashes and redness by removing urushiol oil from the skin.

From Editorial Team

Extra Tips!

The urushiol oil of Poison Ivy can attach even to your clothes and shoes. So better to be away from hairy rootlets vines in the deep woods.

Also, if you are in contact with Poison Ivy, restrain from scratching the affected area as it can worsen the infection and spread it all over your body.