Golden Gate Poison Oak

golden gate poison oak

Pacific poison oak is extremely common in California, much like its cousin poison ivy in the eastern half of the country. 

The two are similar, with subtle differences. They both grow as ground vines, climbing vines, and shrubs. But the eastern stuff climbs using little hairy roots, but the western stuff wraps itself around its victim. Neither one is a parasite; they don't kill or eat what they climb on – they are just looking for sunlight.

Oddly, there are scores of poison ivy plant control companies in the east, but hardly any poison oak control companies in California. We have no idea why this is. Do you?

There is also a form of poison oak in the southeast of the US, but it is not that common and grows right along with poison ivy. But it is limited to a shrublike growth, not a vine.

This photo of poison oak infesting much of the hills overlooking the Golden Gate bridge is a good indicator of how common this plant is. And like poison ivy, when it grows near the ocean, the leaves tend to be small and curly and waxy.

We have a whole page about Pacific poison oak, and a Pacific poison oak poster for sale.