Vine Identification

(Question)

Would you be able to identify this vine? It is growing in the shade in clay soil.

 

(Answer)

While it is difficult to definitively identify the plant from a photo, it is quite possible this plant is Poison Ivy (Rhus radicans).  Poison Ivy can grow in variety of habitats, and displays variable growth habits, including low ground cover, a  short shrub, and a vine form that can twine around trees and structures.  Poison Ivy is classically identified by its “leaves of three” structure, which is actually a single compound leaf with three leaflets.  These leaflets can vary greatly in shape and have margins (edges) that are completely smooth or have fine or rough “teeth.”  In the spring and early summer, young leaflets are often reddish or bronzy green, turning bright green in the summer, and a vivid orange or red in the fall.

While there are a number of benign look-a-likes, its best to treat this plant with caution until it can be definitively identified.  Please refer to a previous TMG answer concerning Poison Ivy and a factsheet on Poison Ivy published by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs on how to safely deal with this toxic plant.