July 19, 2013

Don't Confuse Virginia Creeper with Poison Ivy

Virginia Creeper Vine
Poison Ivy

So many people come to my gardens and are worried that I have Poison Ivy growing on my trees. What I have is Virginia  Creeper. It is not poisonous and is often destroyed from lack of knowledge. I really like the color it adds to my garden in the fall. It's leaves turn a beautiful red with green highlights and it has ornamental berries too. It makes a nice ground cover also. If you will look closely at each plant you can see the difference. Poison Ivy leaves are 3 lobed and dark shiny green. Virginia creeper has 5 leaves, lighter green and not shiny. Virginia Creeper has 3 lobed leaves on the terminal ends of the vine but always has the larger 5 lobed leaves too. You can see the tiny little 3 lobed leaves in this picture along with the bigger 5 lobed mature leaves. Notice the lighter green of creeper's leaves compared to the picture above of Poison Ivy
Creeper's 3 lobed terminal leaves

  I fight a yearly battle with Poison Ivy in my wooded yard. Little by little I'm winning that war. I pull out every vine that even tries to come up in my yard.  I'm not very allergic to Poison Ivy and I've discovered a wonderful preventive if I do get into it. Tecnu is a cleansing lotion that will take the poison ivy oil off your skin up to six hours after contact. Just rub it on and rinse it off with cool water. You will find it at any drug store.

Both vines are beautiful in the fall just don't make the mistake of putting those pretty red berries from the 3 leaved vine into your fall wreath! 

Click the picture of Tecnu to read more about that product.


  1. Excellent article. I am allergic to poison ivy.

    I am annoyed with all the Virginia Creeper with which I deal, too. Birds spread the seeds faster than I can keep seedlings pulled.

    Cold water is the key to getting the oils off your skin with the help of Technu.

  2. Glad to know about the cold water. I've been using Tecnu for so long that I didn't read the label before posting. Thank goodness I'd have to roll in poison ivy to get a bad rash!