“Leaf color ranges from light green (usually the younger leaves) to dark green (mature leaves), turning bright red in fall; though other sources say leaves are red when young, turn green through maturity, then back to red, orange, or yellow in the fall. The leaflets of mature leaves are somewhat shiny. The leaflets are 3 to 12 cm long, rarely up to 30 cm. Each leaflet has a few or no teeth along its edge, and the leaf surface is smooth. Leaflet clusters are alternate on the vine, and the plant has no thorns. These three characteristics are sometimes believed sufficient to positively identify the plant: (a) clusters of three leaflets, (b) alternate, and (c) lack of thorns (although there are a great number of other plants which also fit that simplified description). If it is growing up the trunk of a tree, the presence of copious root-hairs will identify it, leading to the “hairy vine, no friend of mine” warning. The milky sap of poison ivy darkens after exposure to the air.”
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