Collectively, poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac are the No. 1 cause of allergic reactions in the U.S. And all three plants grow in Utah. Direct skin contact with urushiol, the plant’s oily resin, can cause an itchy, blistering rash that lasts for weeks. Learn to identify these plants so you can avoid them.
Poison ivy has three leaves per cluster and a red stem. It grows as a low shrub in Utah and varies in color from green to red. It produces yellow and green flowers in spring and may develop green or off-white berries in fall.
Poison oak also has three small leaflets that alternate on the stem. It is similar in look to poison ivy except its leaves are somewhat lobed. It usually grows as a shrub and may have yellow to white berries.
The branches of this plant have seven to 13 leaves paired in rows, with a single leaf on the end. It may produce yellow to white berries, and the leaves may have brown or black spots. Poison sumac grows as a shrub or small tree.
Avoid contact with the poisonous plants by staying on cleared pathways. Use skin-care products that contain bentoquatam, an ivy block barrier, and cover your skin to reduce exposure. Wash skin, pets and contaminated objects immediately after exposure.