Hiking and mountain biking season is here, and while I love hitting the trails, I've had a couple of nasty encounters with poison ivy or poison oak. A lot of plants have "leaves of three," and it's not always easy to tell which plant encounters will leave you with a miserable, itchy rash.
Poison oak and poison ivy plants are great imitators of the plants around them - they can change size, leaf shape, and leaf color depending on where they are growing. If growing among trees, these plants will grow as vines. Among shrubs, they will grow as shrubs, and in open areas, they will grow as small weeds.
About.com guide to walking Wendy Bumgardner has created a couple of excellent photo galleries to help you learn to identify poison oak, poison ivy and poison sumac. Take a look and learn to spot these shape-shifting, irritating plants.
Photo by Wendy Bumgardner