Pretty Fall Leaves: NOT!

poison ivy in fall color

Yes, this IS poison ivy in the fall, pretending to be just innocent fall foliage.

But if you pick these for your Thanksgiving table decoration you could wind up with some itchy guests.

These leaves have the classic "leaves of three" that are a good indication of poison ivy. And they don't have thorns, which is another indication they could be poison ivy. 

Notice that one leaf has tiny notched leaflets; the other has one big one. That is just poison ivy messing with you: it might be the most variable plant in terms of leaf shape and size, so learning to spot it is tricky.

The books say that in the fall most of the urushiol oil that causes the rash is absorbed back into the vines and roots, so the leaves might be less dangerous, but I wouldn't count on that. You might get just a bad rash, as opposed to a VERY bad rash. Sound good?