Plants that look like poison ivy can be hard to identify among plants that real which are not safe for the touch.

Similar Leaves Plants That Look Like Poison Ivy

But we all want to know the difference, since some plants can have the same appearance, leaving people confused if they are safe to touch or vulnerable to developing that ugly ivy rash.

Therefore, in this guide, we will list some plants that look similar to poison ivy but are safe to touch.

With the help of some identifying features, you will know precisely how to identify poison ivy from similar plants.

List of Plants That Look Similar to Poison Ivy 

1. Box Elder

  • Asymmetrical features
  • crooked leaves on stems 
Difference from poison ivy
  • Stems are not red
  • Stems are straight 
  • The leaf structure is different  
Height 30 to 50 feet tall
Safe to touch Yes 


This maple tree, which is native to North America, overgrows. Young trees may resemble weeds or vines, and their leaves superficially resemble poison ivy.

The fact that box elder stems are not red and that the leaf stems develop straight opposite one another from the main branch as opposed to alternating as poison ivy stems make them the simplest to distinguish from one another.

Close View of Box Elder Leaves

A rigid, quickly-growing member of the soapberry family whichi is scientifically known as the Sapindaceae or commonly the box elder sometimes, due to the ash-leaved maple, is a native of the central and eastern United States like poison oak.

However, it was brought to Europe, where it is commonly grown as an ornamental. The tree reaches a height of somewhat between 30 and 50 feet tall. 

The uncommon maple compound leaves have three, five, or seven leaflets with rough teeth. A samara, also known as a key, is a broad, flat-wing-like structure that contains a single seed. 

Early American settlers in the plains regions of the country planted the box elder widely for shade due to its fast growth and resistance to dryness. From the box elder, maple syrup and sugar can occasionally be extracted. In addition, crates, furniture, paper pulp, and charcoal are all made from its wood.

2. Boston Ivy

  • Blooming decorative vine 
  • Serrated leaves 
Difference from poison ivy
  • Serrated leaves
  • Shorter stems,
  • Middle leaves without longer stems.
Height Three to 10 feet
Safe to touch Yes


Despite its name, Boston ivy, a blooming plant related to grapes, is a native of Asia. It is popular with homeowners as a decorative climbing ivy vine and can become difficult to tell apart from poison ivy. 

Identifying poison ivy can be easy if you know its characteristics; however this one gets mistakes as well because the leaves that it produces would quickly resemble the ivy in the shape of the leaf and even when the stem gets to have a crimson shade color.

Wall Covered with Boston Ivy Leaves

But unlike poison ivy, the Boston ivy has consistently serrated leaves, shorter stems, and middle leaves without longer steam.

This deciduous perennial woody vine is surprisingly simple to cultivate, although you’ll probably need to give it a little TLC now and again to keep it under control. Boston ivy can harm wood siding, gutters, and even roofing if it grows unchecked while not being as troublesome as English ivy. 

This native of China and Japan is classified as an invasive plant in some areas of North America, and growing it is not advised. However, Boston ivy is usually preferable to English ivy when possible, and due to the common characteristics that they both share.

Boston ivy vines add foliage in the summer and color in the autumn. Boston ivy has reddish new leaves in the early spring. In the summer, the leaves often turn green before changing to a reddish hue in the fall. 

On another note, this specific plant ivy is often planted from potted nursery seedlings in late spring or early summer. It is a vine that expands quickly and can gain three to 10 feet annually. The mature height of some plants can reach 50 feet or even higher. 

3. Virginia Creeper  

  • The leaves of Boston ivy are three-lobed with evener edges
  • the tendrils are much smaller.
Difference from poison ivy It has five distinct leaflets instead of three  
Height Can climb up to 60 feet on trees
Safe to touch Sensitive people may develop contact dermatitis


Many of the eastern and southern United States are home to this plant. It expands quickly and can easily smother nearby plants. Despite having a similar appearance to poison ivy, there is a significant distinction. However, the poison ivy has three leaflets in each grouping, on the other hand the Virginia creeper has five.

A native climber in the Vitaceae family, the Virginia creeper is most evident in the fall when the leaves start to color due to the cooler temperatures. Parthenocissus quinquefolia is a plant from southern Canada to eastern Mexico and Guatemala in east and central North America. 

Green Leaves of Virginia Creeper Plants

Other synomyms include Ampelopsis hederacea var. Murorum, as these are mostly mentioned in botany, because it is the scientific name of the plant. It has also gone by many more scientific names. 

Other famous words for Virginia creeper include five-finger, woodbine, and five-leaved ivy of course, despite not being closely related to the genuine ivy, which belongs to the genus Hedera. Although P. insert, often known as woodbine, is a closely related species, it cannot climb smooth surfaces as the regular ivy would.

Virginia creepers can be found in open regions like railroad right-of-ways, rocky bluffs, fence rows, banks of streams or lakes, and disturbed habitats in both rural and urban locations. It also grows along the ground in woodlands, frequently creeping up trees or telephone poles on woodland borders. 

It is commonly used in places where Boston or Japanese ivy or the P. tricuspidate, native to Asia, ivy grows in the hardiness zones of four to eight.

As a piece of advice, you shouldn’t very close to it and just don’t touch it if you’re sensitive and have allergies, because often, some people would show skin irritation when they feel the texture of this plant. 

4. Dewberry 

  • Leaves are palmate complex usually 
  • Three to five-toothed leaflets
Difference from poison ivy
  • Leaves have consistent little teeth around the edge 
  • a severer point at the end of leaves
Height Four feet
Safe to touch Yes 


Dewberries are a close relative of the blackberry and are found growing wild in large portions of North America and Europe. Their fruit can be consumed fresh or used to make jams, pies, and cobblers.

They resemble poison ivy before they bloom and bear fruit, meaning when they are still young and on the verge of growing. Their leaves, however, have evenly little teeth around the edge and a sharper, more marked or pointed at the end of the leaf. 

Green Leaves and White Flower of Dewberry

Any of the numerous species of trailing blackberries in the genus Rubus in the rose family, also known as a dewberry or the Rosaceae. Dewberries can be found throughout Northern Europe and North America. 

They produce edible fruits that can be consumed raw, baked into pies or cobblers, or preserved. They are sporadically grown, but they are frequently regarded as weeds because of their ability to increase quickly, and remember that they aren’t as poisonous.

Low-growing perennial dewberry plants frequently have a lot of prickles on them. The palmate and complex leaves are placed alternately along the stalk and typically have three to five toothed leaflets. A plant can spread in a vegetative manner as they would have the ability to produce aerial roots at the tips of arching stems that contact the ground.

The plants, unlike the majority of other brambles, are typically dioecious, which means that each individual is either male or female.

Depending on the sex, the flowers are generally white, with five petals and numerous stamens or pistils. On the other hand, the fragile fruit, which ripens to purple or black, is a collection of droplets rather than a true berry.

5. Hog Peanut Leaves 

Appearance Leaves are fat and rounded with flowering
Difference from poison ivy
  • Similar to poison ivy but does not climb 
  • the stem is thinner
  • the base of the leaf is fatter and more rounded
Height One to five feet 
Safe to touch Yes


Native to North America, this legume might resemble poison ivy due to its alternate, three-leaflet leaves and also poison sumac.

Unfortunately, it often grows close to poison ivy, which further adds to the confusion, because one would wonder and be anxious whether this is actually the toxic plant or not. One way to know about this is that this vine does not climb trees.

In addition to the latter, the stem is thinner, and the base of the leaf is fatter and more rounded.

Hog Peanut Leaves on Plants

Amphicarpaea bracteata, also known as American hog-peanut or hog peanut, is a vining herbaceous annual plant native to eastern North America from Manitoba east to Nova Scotia, south to Florida, west to Texas, and north to North Dakota and Montana. It is a part of the pea family, scientifically the Fabaceae. 

It is uncommon in that it produces two distinct kinds of blooms and seeds, and the genus name refers to their produced fruit, which are like peanut refers to the underground fruits that wild pigs dig up and consume.

The American hog-peanut uses coiling stems to climb. Silver-spotted skipper and northern cloudy-wing butterflies use it as a host for their larvae.

From a seed, this plant develops a thin tap root that twines and branches into a stem that, over the growing season, can reach a maximum length of five feet. It climbs by coiling the apical section of the stem around the branches of other plants in place of tendrils. 

It can also infiltrate aesthetic landscapes of a similar kind, as they are found in damp woodlands, meadows, and prairies. This plant is frequently seen as a weed when it grows in cultivated areas.

6. Strawberry Leaves

Appearance The leaves are composite, naturally with three leaflets, saw tooth-edged, and usually bushy
Difference from poison ivy
  • the leaves don’t have a sharp tip, in the end,
  • fuzzy stems
  • they lack creeping
Height 12 to 14 inches
Safe to touch Yes 


The two wild strawberry species that were crossed to produce the strawberries you can today buy in the supermarket include this one. It has leaves with three leaflets each leaf, similar to poison ivy or toxicodendron radicans. 

Which shows that it would closely mimic the itchy ivy before the unmistakable strawberry fruit appears. However, unlike poison ivy, strawberry leaves do not have a sharp tip at the end.

Green Strawberry Leaves

The consistent teeth along the border, the fuzzy stems, and the lack of creeping are other differences from poison ivy, in addition the stem is also a bit fuzzy and doesn’t always produce big leaves.

The cultivated kinds of strawberries are widely produced all over the world. However, strawberries are indigenous to the temperate areas of the Northern Hemisphere. 

On the other hand, the fruits, which are high in vitamin C, are frequently consumed fresh as a dessert fruit and as a filling for pastries or pies, and one can preserve them in various ways, showing that the fruit is not poisonous and neither are the leaves, although some people may show some allergic reaction to this berry.

7. Fragrant Sumac

  • During fall, the foliage turns vibrant
  • Produces vivid red berries
Difference from poison ivy
  • Leaves have little lobes around the margins as opposed to teeth
  • Bright green
Height Five to 12 feet 
Safe to touch Yes 


This woody plant resembles poison ivy since it has three leaflets on each leaf. But poison ivy grows in marshy places, unlike this plant. Fragrant Sumac grows as a woody shrub instead of a vine. The leaves have little lobes around the margins instead of teeth like the ivy does. 

The middle leaf needs to be more clearly on a longer stalk. Some people assume that this is a poisonous plant, but a different variety of it, due to the common pointy feature and color. But again, this one has more of a circular pointy edge. 

Fragrant Sumac Tree in Blooms

Fragrant sumac is not the most handsome shrub, but it is not ugly either, especially in the fall when its foliage turns vibrant and produces vivid red berries. It shines all year long at supporting wildlife and pollinators, preventing erosion, and having almost no severe pest and disease problems. 

Planting this plant in a location that might require erosion control or simply some fall interest is a no-brainer because it is a natural plant with these characteristics.

People frequently inquire about low-maintenance plants. It is a very low-care plant, which is just one of the reasons people adore this species. It will need some annual trimming, especially if it is going to be used as a hedge, and may benefit from some additional fertilizer.

The fragrant sumac will continue to bring you and your local pollinators joy for years to come if you follow just a few basic care instructions. 

8. Raspberry

  • Leaves have three leaflets 
  • The undersides of the leaves are often hairy and range in color
Difference from poison ivy
  • leaves are coarser 
  • Serrated edges
Height Four to six feet
Safe to touch Yes 


Most of North America’s natural population of this wild raspberry can grow in profusion there. It frequently grows immediately next to poison ivy and has similar leaves with three leaflets each. However, the leaves are coarser, and the serrated edges are much more noticeable than on poison ivy. 

The genus Rubus fruit, or raspberry, is a bramble which the Rosaceae family, in botany. Raspberries, believed to have originated in eastern Asia, are a substantial crop in much of Northern Europe, the United States, and Canada. 

Ripe Raspberry in Plants

Raspberries are perennial plants with two-year-old canes. Most canes only bear fruit in their second year and are either smooth or loaded with prickles. The canes, which can grow to a height of more than six feet, have a cluster of leaves with two or more toothed leaflets, depending on the type or cultivar.

The undersides of the leaves are often hairy and vary in color from white to grayish. The five-petaled white to-pink blossoms give birth to luscious crimson, purple, or black which are infrequently orange, amber, or pale yellow fruits.

However, contrary to blackberries, the delicate fruit’s center stays on the plant after being picked. Despite being known as “berries,” the fruit is a collection of little drupes called drupelets.

It has different nutritional properties like iron, vitamin C, and antioxidants are included in raspberry fruits, typically consumed fresh as a dessert fruit and with cream or ice cream. In addition, the fruit is frequently used as a pastry filling. A flavoring for some liqueurs and in jams and jellies.

9. Jack-in-The-pulpit

  • Has two long-stalked 
  • Three-parted leaves that outshine the flower
Difference from poison ivy
  • Plant grows straight up as opposed to creeping along the ground
  • Its leaves are usually smooth
Height One to two feet 
Safe to touch Yes 


The edible root of this plant, sometimes known as the Indian turnip, was formerly a staple diet for indigenous peoples. Young plants resemble poison ivy, while mature plants have very different appearances. 

On the other hand, the plant grows straight up instead of creeping along the ground, and its leaves are usually smooth. The bases of the leaves are more comprehensive than those of most poison ivy, and they are frequently touching.

Green Wet Leaves of Jack in the Pulpit

The North American plant known as jack-in-the-pulpit, also known as Indian Turnip, Bog Onion, Brown Dragon, or Starchwort, belongs to the arum family or the Araceae family and is distinguished by the peculiar shape of its flower. The plant is indigenous to moist forests and thickets from Nova Scotia to Minnesota and further south to Florida and Texas. 

It is a thick-rooted perennial that ranges in height from one to two feet, and it typically has two long-stalked, three-parted leaves that cover the bloom. The latter consists of a noticeable spathe, a structure with green and purple stripes that rises on a separate stalk between the leaves.

The plant’s tiny flowers are borne near the base of a club-shaped system called a spadix, over which the blooming spathe coils in a hood-like fashion. Which is why this specific feature characterizes this plant.

10. Common Jewelweed

Appearance Has vivid orange flowers. Its thin, watery stems with toothed borders and its oval, alternately-arranged leaves are formed.
Difference from poison ivy It does not grow three leaflets and has orange flowers.
Height 5 feet 
Safe to touch Yes 


An annual plant with vivid orange flowers, common jewelweed, sometimes known as spotted jewelweed, can grow up to five feet tall. The poison ivy rash causes can be treated by this plant, even though it is frequently mistaken for poison ivy.

On the other hand, the leaves of this plant don’t grow three leaflets like poison ivy leaves, despite having similar veins and textures, which are the ones that can cause confusion.

Orange Flowers of Common Jewelweed

All across northern and eastern North America, moist, semi-shaded environments are home to the widespread plant known as jewelweed. It frequently grows in thick, pure stands in floodplain woods and along the wooded borders of marshes and bogs. 

Additionally, disturbed environments like ditches and road cuts are colonized by jewelweed. It is one of the few native North American plants that has been demonstrated to compete successfully against garlic mustard .

These non-native invasive species pose a threat to many eastern North American forests. It can be an aggressive competitor in its preferred settings.

11. Bushkiller Vine

Appearance vine comprises five leaflets, with the center leaflet growing on a separate stem unlike the poison ivy vine
Difference from poison ivy contains five leaflets instead of 3
Height maximum of 1 m
Safe to touch Yes 


This invasive plant, originally from Australia, was imported to North America, where it severely harms local species. It resembles poison ivy only a little bit, but its leaflets come in fives rather than threes. 

The perennial herbaceous vine known as “bush killer” is a part of the Vitaceae specie, which includes grapes. Each leaf on this vine comprises five leaflets, with the center leaflet growing on a separate stem. 

Bushkiller Vine Plants in Outside

In general, leaves are no smaller than half an inch wide and one inch long, but they can be up to three inches wide and three inches long.

The lower surface of the ovate, dentate, and silvery-white leaves is colored. Late summer brings out clusters of white, red, and yellow flowers that bear spherical, grape-like berries with two to four seeds. 

It can reproduce by root or rhizome, although the further North a plant is discovered, the less viable seeds are to be possible. Virginia creeper, often known as the bush killer.


Poison ivy is one of the deadliest plants you can come across. The effects of touching one can give a rash that can stay on for weeks. Other innocent plants tend to look like poison ivy; be sure to check the following tell-tale indicators to know what is growing in your backyard:

  • Poison ivy has a bunch of three leaflets, not more and not less. 
  • Most plants have a stalk in the middle, which is short. Those with poison ivy are longer. 
  • Look for the leaves; poison ivy has leaves with edges that are coarsely toothed and you can kill poison ivy by burning it.  

With these indicators in mind, you can assess which plants to let plant and which ones to steer clear of.  

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