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This plant has 3-5 leaflets per compound leaf. It caught my eye because, at first, I thought it resembled poison ivy. But I don't think it's poison ivy.

What species is it?

  • Date: May 11, 2024
  • Location: Norwood, Ontario, Canada; full shade along forest trail edge
  • Height: 1 foot
  • Description: New leaves looked somewhat greasy, dark green/dark red, compound, serrated, opposite

Unfortunately, I can't go back to get clearer pictures.

enter image description here

enter image description here

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2 Answers 2

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This appears to be Aralia nudicaulus, wild sarsaparilla. It has a main stem that branches in three, with compound leaves with 3-5 (7) serrate leaflets. It occurs in your area.

enter image description here
From Wildflowers of Ontario

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks! "Because it sometimes grows with groups of 3 leaflets, it can be mistaken for poison ivy; the way to tell the difference is that Wild Sarsaparilla lacks a woody base and has fine teeth along the edges of the leaves." en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aralia_nudicaulis $\endgroup$
    – User1974
    Commented May 23 at 17:11
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This is almost certainly poison ivy. When you said the leaves had a greasy feel, alarm bells started ringing and I hit up Google, and the images I got for poison ivy bore a very close resemblance to what you have here. Quite frankly, I'm surprised you didn't get a rash from a an exposure 12 days ago...

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    $\begingroup$ The Wikipedia page for Toxicodendron radicans (eastern poison ivy) says, "Leaflet clusters are alternate on the vine." Whereas the leaflet clusters in the photos above are opposite. So I don't think it's poison ivy. $\endgroup$
    – User1974
    Commented May 22 at 20:24
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    $\begingroup$ Please do not use this site for simple guessing. If you are unsure of something, it is good to make that explicitly clear. Though, whether you know the answer confidently or not, adequate cited support needs to be provided. Your answer is incorrect -- see here for a previous SE post about poison ivy. $\endgroup$ Commented May 23 at 12:56

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