I also wrote about Poison Ivy on February 2, 2016. Some call it my favourite plant!
The one we see most commonly in the Toronto area is a low shrub, usually less than one metre in height. It has erect or ascending branches and forms patches or low thickets.
The leaves are arranged in groups of three leaflets. The terminal one has a long stalk and the two lateral ones have almost no stalk. The old saying goes Leaflets three? Quickly flee!
When growing in the shade, the leaflets often have little fringes.
The flowers are tiny and greenish-white to yellowish.
They appear in loose clusters from the axils of the leaves.
The fruit is a small, beadlike drupe and is ivory-white to straw-coloured.
A warning saying is: Berries white? Quick take flight!
Here are 2 photos of the buds in winter:
The fruit (drupe) is also conspicuous in winter.
In early spring, the leaves are darkish in colour and very shiny.
In many people, Poison Ivy is capable of producing a very serious skin rash through direct contact with the plant or though indirect means, such as, through the smoke from burning plants, or through contact with clothing or an animal that has brushed against the plants.