Plants with three leaves are ones that would add a touch of beauty to amp up your garden. Maybe you want to incorporate a theme of plants with three leaflets? Well, because most three-leaved varieties can be toxic, you may want to hold that thought.

Plants with Three Leaves

Keep reading to find out some three-leaved plants you probably should be staying away from. 

List of Plants That Have Three Leaflets 

1. Shamrock

The shamrock plant is also known as the Oxalis regnelli, and it is a delicate perennial frequently grown indoors. Three triangular-shaped leaves on a narrow stem are the distinguishing feature of Oxalis regnelli. If given the right care, the tiny, creamy-white blooms that would open up in the early spring and into the summer. 

Lucky Shamrock Plants

– Growth Requirements

These are the type of plants that prefer direct, strong light. In the summer, fertilize these plants once a month with a houseplant fertilizer and water them when the soil seems somewhat dry to the touch. Which means that the soil should be somehow moist, but not soggy, of course. Moreover, the light that reaches it should be indirect, as the place is kept both cold and warm at the same time.

– Symbolism 

The significance of the shamrock is connected to Christianity. Because of the Trinity theory, the number three has a special meaning in the Christian religion. According to Irish folklore, St. Patrick, an Irish missionary, bishop, and patron saint, used a shamrock to illustrate Trinity’s threefold unity by pointing to its shared stalk. This explains why medic, wood sorrel, and real clovers are frequently referred to as “shamrocks” because they all have three-leafed leaves. 

2. Poison Ivy 

In North America, poison ivy is known as the Toxicodendron radicans in botany, and it is a hazardous weed frequently found in residential settings, on roadsides, in woodlands, and even in populated regions. 

Toxic Poison Ivy Shrubs

Urushiol, an oily substance found in all plant sections, is the primary irritant that gives it its toxic properties. Poison ivy is one of two varieties of toxic plants that rarely affect pets, but it can cause problems when it does. The other two are poison oak and sumac. 

– Features

Toxicodendron radicans is the name of the plant in its scientific name. You may recognize the plant from these images in leafy and leafless states and at different stages of maturity, however in order to identify poison ivy you must keep in mind the way that it looks and how it has three leaves attached at the end of the stem.

In the spring, young poison ivy plants frequently have orange or crimson leaves. Be mindful that sometimes there are notches in the leaf margins, but not always, so this feature is not enough to identify the weed. 

Although these plants are barely above the ground, the oil they produce, known as uruseol, can contaminate clothing, particularly socks and shoes. 

– Cautiousness

Wearing gloves is necessary when working with poison ivy leaves to prevent any residue from being transferred to your food, face, pets, other people, or other surfaces. Wash the gloves and your clothes separately from the rest of your laundry afterward. Because it can cause severe skin irritation, and when your skin sees sun afterward, it would feel painful.

3. White Clovers

Low-growing perennial white clover or even called the Trifolium repens, is frequently seen in lawns. It usually goes unnoticed by people until it produces tiny, white flowers in late spring that draw bees, and other pollinators to your garden, if these leaves are growing there.

Abundant White Clover Fields

– Characteristic

Some homeowners consider white clover to be an invasive species. In some regions of North America, this pea family member is in fact regarded as invasive. In addition to lawns, meadows, and at the sides of roads, it has naturalised across a large portion of the continent. Some others, however, consider it to be a true ground cover. It can at least be a useful addition to a lawn because it possesses a lot of positive traits that your turfgrass lacks.

On the other hand, you should remember that its capacity to spread and form mats across the soil’s surface is more significant than either its leaves or its blossoms. The spreading that gives the plant its scientific name, repens, occurs when the nodes along its stems make touch with the ground. As a result, fresh roots are established, effectively creating new plants.

– Growth Requirements

It can survive without the use of pesticides or fertilizer and is more drought resistant than turf. It also aerates the soil, requires little maintenance, and is resistant to dog urine, among other benefits. On another note, the soil should be slightly acidic to almost neutral when it is growing, and as the soil should have a well-draining property so that the roots don’t see excessive amount of water. 

4. Fragrant Sumac 

Fragrant sumac is one that is different from poison sumac. This is the type of tiny tree or shrub that can reach 25 feet. It has medium-sized green leaves that are green with striking crimson stems and turn red-orange in the fall. 

Sweet Fragrant Sumac Shrubs

– Characteristics

This type of sumac is one that grows steadily and is best planted in the spring after the last frost. Additionally, because the plant is indigenous to North America, it won’t disturb the flora’s delicate balance. 

Although it is mistaken by the same plant’s other species which contains poison, however the one with three leaves, is the fragrant sumac, and this one is not toxic to animals and humans, just as the other one is. The reason why is that this species don’t have the toxic sap that grow them, and you don’t have to worry so much because it is not one of the poisonous plants.

– Other Varieties 

Several non-poisonous species of sumac look excellent in landscapes. They consist of the following: Staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina) is a 15 to 25-foot-tall shrub or small tree with scarlet hairs covering its stems.

Rhus aromatica, a dense, low-growing shrub that only reaches a height of 2 to 6 feet, is known for its sweet citrus perfume that is released when the leaves and stems are crushed. Rumex virens, or evergreen sumac: a medium-sized shrub with glossy evergreen foliage that can grow up to 10 feet tall. 

5. Boston Ivy

A few plants, like the Boston Ivy, or scientifically called the Parthenocissus tricuspidata, is one that requires a climbing vine that clings to nearly anything and tolerates light and shade. Due to the luxuriant vegetation that covers its storied walls, this is the same plant that gives Ivy League universities their nickname.

Graceful Boston Ivy Vines

On the other hand, it is also one that can serve as a low-maintenance ground cover plant in some places.

– Characteristics 

It is wise to grow these ivy vines up garden arbors, pergolas, and fences. Additionally, if a particular region of your yard needs a privacy screen in the summer, you can grow them on a trellis. 

Most of the time this plant is grown outdoors, on the exterior part of houses to shade the wall for energy efficiency, vines are also grown-up walls, and this is because they have a climbing ability. You may cultivate the plants one foot away from the wall to give the roots adequate room, then space them at least 18 to 24 inches apart to cover the wall.

The vines responsible would add foliage not only in the summer but also color in the autumn. This ivy plant has reddish new leaves in the spring. In the summer, the leaves usually turn green before changing back to a reddish hue in the fall. Inconspicuous greenish-white flowers appear on the plants from June to July, giving way to berry clusters that are dark blue and attractive to birds.

– Other varieties 

Parthenocissus tricuspidata is frequently sold in garden centers as named cultivars rather than the original plant. There are similarities between “Purpurea” and “Atropurpurea,” although the former’s foliage is more consistently reddish-purple from spring through the month of October.


There you have it, the entire list of plants with three leaves. All varieties mentioned above are unique in their own way and have different characteristics.

Just remember what we covered here in this article:

  • Boston ivy is said to be one of the most harmful plants once touched. If you have pets or small children, you do not want this vine lurking around in your home.
  • Fragrant sumac and poison ivy are extremely similar plants, although the former is not a poisonous one. So if you see either and can’t figure out which is which, just keep away.
  • While some may strike as lucky as shamrocks or clovers, others can harm you quite bad like poison ivy.

Now, you can easily recognize the differences between dangerous three-leaved plants and 

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