About Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac

Get the scoop on four common poisonous plants: Western poison oak, Eastern poison oak, poison sumac, and common poison ivy.

| June/July 2001

  • Poison Ivy Rash
    Avoid an irritating rash by learning more about common poisonous plants and their prime habitats.
    PHOTO: FOTOLIA/FABFOTOS

  • Poison Ivy Rash

In Home Remedies for Poison Ivy, we covered common preventive measures and home treatments for itchy rashes caused by poisonous plants. Now, let’s take a closer look at four common ones.

Western Poison Oak

Toxicodendron diversilobum

Considered the poison oak by some botanists, this plants is common on the Pacific Coast (except for the Olympic Peninsula) from southern British Columbia to northern Baja California. Its three leaflets seem randomly lobed and resemble oak leaves.

Most often found as a spreading, freestanding shrub 2 to 6 feet tall, Western poison oak can also take the form of a tall, climbing vine.



Eastern Poison Oak

Toxicodendron toxicarium; also T. quercifolium

Unlike poison ivy, this low shrub never climbs or produces aerial rootlets. It grows in poor, sandy soils such as those of oak-pine savannas in the Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains and in scrub oak forests in Arkansas and Missouri.






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