An out of state friend of mine has just moved to a new place in Knoxville TN, and her new gardener has offered to remove the following plants (pictured) claiming them to be both poison ivy and poison oak, and charging her accordingly for the hazard.

I'm no expert in ivy, and only have the attached picture for reference, but I don't believe the ivy in question is noxious; mainly due to the old adage: "leaves of three, beware of me".

Are the pictured plants indeed trouble, or is it simply a well established harmless set of plants?

Unknown Ivy

  • 1
    Looks like woodbine and myrtle to me, with a variegated hosta to one side. and something shrubby in the corner of the fence. I'd suggest a new new gardener that A: knows plants B: isn't a scammer.
    – Ecnerwal
    Jun 2, 2016 at 14:18
  • From the leaves in the lower left it looks like Virginia Creeper.
    – nportelli
    Jun 8, 2016 at 16:02

2 Answers 2


I'm in the UK, and we don't have poison ivy, oak nor sumach, so I've never actually seen them. However, the small leaved plant covering the ground in between the Hosta leaves and the one with palmate leaves appears to be Vinca minor, common name lesser periwinkle, usually has blue flowers in spring. The palmate leaved plant looks like Parthenocissus, or Virginia Creeper; there also seem to be what looks like random blades of grass. Images of Virginia Creeper and Vinca minor below



I found the link below; according to that none of these plants is poison ivy nor poison oak, but as I said, never having seen the plants in real life, I'm reliant on internet info only, hopefully someone who's actually seen the poison plants and been able to identify them with 100% accuracy will confirm. It seems the gardener you've employed is either unable to recognise them, or is hoping to charge more for dealing with 'poison plants'.


  • 5
    I garden in North America and Bamboo is correct. This is vinca and virginia creeper. Not necessarily everyone's favourite but not a noxious weed
    – kevinskio
    Jun 2, 2016 at 0:15
  • 8
    PS fire the new gardener
    – kevinskio
    Jun 2, 2016 at 0:15

I live in up-state N.Y.. The 5 leaved plants in the fore-ground look like the same stuff I have growing up one of our trees. It also trails along the ground. A couple yrs. ago I tried pulling it up, got itchy blisters on my hands and feet.. either p. ivy or oak..IF it's one of those, check and see if it's running along the ground. If you do the newer leaves are almost reddish, and be careful.

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