Poison Ivy

Poison ivy growing on a tree
Poison Ivy, identifiable by a plant with clusters of three leaves, laying on the ground.

NPS / Matt Switzer


"Leaves of three, let it be!"

Poison ivy can be found in all areas of Little River Canyon National Preserve. This versatile plant grows as a climbing vine, a shrub, and a ground cover, and from full sun to full shade. Leaves can be a shiny or dull green color, turning to reds, yellows, and oranges in the fall.

Poison ivy produces an oily skin irritant that causes an itching rash from all parts of the plant - you can still get a rash from poison ivy even in the winter when the plant has no leaves! Some people may have a very serious reaction to poison ivy, requiring medical treatment. The best prevention is to avoid contact. If exposed, wash the affected area with soap and cold water (hot water opens pores in your skin and can cause further spreading!) as soon as possible.

Safety Tips:

  • Watch for clusters of three 3-lobed leaves.
  • Lack of thorns - the three leaf clusters of blackberry plants can be easily mistaken for poison ivy, but blackberries have thorns.
  • If it is growing as a vine up a tree, the vine will look hairy, especially in older, more well-established vines.
  • Do not burn poison ivy or wood entangled in poison ivy! The irritant will become airborne and can cause serious irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat.
  • Make sure you keep your dog on the trail - dogs can easily spread the irritant from their fur to people's hands and clothes.

Last updated: July 31, 2022

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Mailing Address:

4322 Little River Trail NE Ste 100
Fort Payne, AL 35967


256 845-9605 x201
Main phone number for Little River Canyon National Preserve.

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