five leaf and three leaf on same vine

classicform(5B Mich.)June 18, 2005

I have what I thought (as well as a few on this forum) was poisen ivy...I had a closer look today and I found that there is what seems to be two different plants on the same vine. One of them has five leaves and on the same vine a runner with 3 leaves that looks like PI. What in the heck is this creature? Some kind of freak mutation? I would really like to remove this from my garden and if its not PI then I can just pull the stuff and not worry about it. Any ideas? The first picture shows the five leaf in the upper left corner and the three leaf in the center. The second pic shows a close up of the five leaf part of the plant. Both three and five leaves feel fuzzy on the underside.

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bcday(z5 NY)

The one with 5 leaflets is Virginia Creeper, which can also have 3 or 7 leaflets. I don't believe Poison Ivy ever has 5 leaflets. But the two plants can and will grow right next to each other. It's worth double-checking that the 3-leaflet and 5-leaflet parts really come from the same plant.

Here is a link that might be useful: Virginia Creeper can masquerade as Poison Ivy

    Bookmark   June 18, 2005 at 8:30PM
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classicform(5B Mich.)

Thanks for the response...I looked at that vine for 5 full minutes in dis-belief. Here is a pic of where the two different types join to one. The three leaf is to the right, the five is to the left.

There looks to be a distinct difference once that split is made, there is only 3 leaf on the offshoot that goes to the right.

Its almost as if the virginia creeper has adapted itself to look like poison ivy for defense. It's doing a good job of it if this is what is happening here.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2005 at 6:46AM
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classicform(5B Mich.)

Anyone know whats going on here? I'd like to pull this but need to know if its the evil ivy or not. Anyone...Bueller?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2005 at 4:46PM
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Alice Johannen

Well, I just responded to another post that I believe I have virginia creeper, and jeepers creepers (couldn't resist), it looks a heck of a lot like your pics. P.I. wouldn't be as toothy as V.C., I don't think. To me, that just doesn't look glossy enough to be P.I.

For what it's worth, I pulled some of the creeper out and didn't get a rash. :-)

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 9:42PM
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Allison7(NW Illinois)

The three leaf looks like poison oak. Virginia creeper looks great in the fall but spreads like crazy where I am and I find it to be a nuisance. Also, I have poison oak EVERYWHERE! Good luck.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 11:27PM
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I have Virginia Creeper , and it does Creep all over. As I pulled runners this spring I found some with 3 leaves, my first thought was Poison Ivy. I followed the vine back to the mother vine and found the Virginia Creeper. I have been digging the stuff out for 8 years.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2005 at 4:04PM
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springa7(z5 MA)

I've seen young leaves on Virginia Creeper that are almost impossible to tell apart from Poison Ivy. I think that sometimes the younger leaves on Virginia Creeper have only 3 leaflets. After a little while, they usually grow the extra 2 that gives them a full complement of 5. That's probably what you are looking at here - I noticed that the leaves with 3 leaflets all look younger and smaller than the ones with 5 leaflets.

I also noticed on the 3rd photo down that the plant seems to have little green tendrils, like a grapevine. Poison Ivy doesn't have those - when it is climbing something, it grows lots of tiny little root-like structures that cling to the surface of whatever it is climbing. This gives Poison Ivy a "hairy" appearance if it is climbing up something - although the stems won't be "hairy" if they are free-standing or just lying on the ground.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2005 at 11:50AM
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I just did a google search and found this page. I just freaked out about a half hour ago when I pulled a vine out of my azaleas. I didn't think it was anything special when I saw the five leaves... then I saw three leaves and ran inside to scour myself with tecnu. I looked closer and it really does look like the 5 and 3 leave "branches" are coming from the same main vine. I guess I'll do some more research on VA creeper to make sure that's what it is.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2005 at 4:34PM
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Look below. VA Creeper usually has 5 leaves, but may also contain 3 or 4...

Here is a link that might be useful: VA Creeper

    Bookmark   July 4, 2005 at 4:46PM
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Goldylocks(z7 MDsuburbDC)

I have the same mixed up stuff growing in my yard -- at least it looks the same to me as the pix above -- part with very toothed 5 leaflets and part with 3 leaflets. At least some of it is definitely poison ivy, because I got a terrible rash trying to get rid of it. Probably some is Virginia creeper or I'd get a rash more often. I do note that poison ivy CAN have more than 3 leaves. See, e.g., the FDA's site which states that "Identification Please
Unfortunately, poison ivy, oak and sumac don't grow with little picture ID badges around their stems, so you have to know what to look for. The famous rule "leaves of three, let it be" is good to follow, except that some of the plants don't always play by the rules and have leaves in groups of five to nine. To avoid these plants and their itchy consequences, here's what to look for.

Poison Ivy
grows around lakes and streams in the Midwest and the East
woody, ropelike vine, a trailing shrub on the ground, or a free-standing shrub
normally three leaflets (groups of leaves all on the same small stem coming off the larger main stem), but may vary from groups of three to nine
leaves are green in the summer and red in the fall
yellow or green flowers and white berries


    Bookmark   July 5, 2005 at 10:56AM
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classicform(5B Mich.)

Thanks all,
I haven't seen any berries or flowers yet and I suppose I can wait until fall to see if the leaves turn red. (just followed the link provided above, I guess I'll have to look for the berry color instead of leaf color.) I was kind of hoping to eradicate this summer but do not want to risk the evil rash. I've had it once in my life and know enough not to want it again.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2005 at 12:47PM
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