Poison oak has leaves that look like oak
leaves, usually with three leaflets but sometimes up to seven leaflets per leaf
group. It grows as a vine or a shrub. Poison oak is more common in the western
United States, but it is also found in the eastern United States and, rarely,
in the Midwest.
Poison sumac has 7 to 13 leaflets per leaf
stem. The leaves have smooth edges and pointed tips. Poison sumac grows as a
shrub or small tree. It is found in wooded, swampy areas, such as Florida and
parts of other southeastern states, and in wet, wooded areas in the northern
Poison ivy usually has three broad,
spoon-shaped leaves or leaflets ("Leaves of three? Let it be!"), but it can
have more. It may grow as a climbing or low, spreading vine that sprawls
through grass (more common in the eastern United States) or as a shrub (more
common in the northern United States, Canada, and the Great Lakes
The color of these plants may vary throughout the year. For example, poison oak may turn red in late summer and fall.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine