A Sheep Among Wolves

Virginia Creeper and poison ivy together

The two plants often grow intermingled, which creates extra confusion.

The five-leaved plant, Virginia Creeper, is a common gound cover that is sold in nurseries. (Touching it seems to bother some people, but it is not a national health scourge like poison ivy.)

Creeper almost always has 5 leaves, or leaflets, in a group, except sometimes at the top of a climbing vine where only three leaflets show up.

Poison ivy has 3 leaves, or leaflets, in a group, except once in about 100 million where an extra pair of leaves might show up. Poison oak, in California, does have freak leaves of five somewhat more often: see lower photo.

5 leaf poison oak