Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Poison ivy vine on a rough-barked tree

with 30 comments

Poison Ivy Vine with Rootlets on Rough Bark 6266

This vine that put out rootlets to attach itself to the tree it has climbed is poison ivy, Toxicodendron radicans. In conjunction with those rootlets I like the texture of the tree’s rough bark finely covered with lichen, but at the same time I recognize that few people like anything having to do with the dread poison ivy.

Today’s photograph is from September 19th in Great Hills Park.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 29, 2015 at 4:56 AM

30 Responses

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  1. It’s common for one of your photos to remind me of another, but this is the first time a photo has brought to mind two more photos, and both from New Zealand. The colors did it first. That lovely blue and brown combination reminded me of the second photo in this post about Little Manly beach. Both photos have a rough quality — neither is exactly pretty — but I like them both.

    The other photo that came to mind shares the colors, but in this case it’s the sinuous vein in the rock that so neatly parallels the curve of the vine up the tree.


    September 29, 2015 at 7:44 AM

    • For me a large part of the attraction in today’s picture was the colors, and that’s the feature that we now see worked on you, too. In contrast to this scene of two living things, your color harmonies were with rocks (and from half a world away, at that). Now all we need is a similarly colored creature to complete the old trilogy of animal, vegetable, or mineral.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 29, 2015 at 8:06 AM

  2. great picture!


    September 29, 2015 at 10:28 AM

  3. I like this a lot, too ~ the colors and the textures. I see this often in the field here, but I usually avoid pausing or even looking at the vine and its rootlets, which is kind of funny I admit. It was fun to scroll down the length of this photo, all the while resisting the urge to run! run away!


    September 29, 2015 at 10:56 AM

    • I see poison ivy vines with rootlets fairly often in the woods here, but this time the color of the lichen that coated the tree’s rough bark provided a particularly appealing color and texture to contrast with those of the vine.

      I cropped the picture tall and narrow to follow the verticality of the tree trunk. That allowed you to scroll down its length but still kept you free from any trace of urushiol. I’m careful around poison ivy and so far have never had a reaction to it; let’s keep things that way.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 29, 2015 at 1:47 PM

  4. Sorry about the double replies… the first one vanished and now has reappeared. sigh.


    September 29, 2015 at 10:58 AM

  5. I am very allergic to poison ivy, but I did love the texture and detail you revealed in your image.

    Charlie@Seattle Trekker

    September 29, 2015 at 1:46 PM

    • Sorry to hear about your susceptibility. While you were leaving your comment I replied to Melissa’s and mentioned that I’m careful around poison ivy and so far have never had a reaction to it. I aim to keep things that way.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 29, 2015 at 1:49 PM

  6. Great shot! I have this stuff trying desperately to crawl up the side of our house. It’s a battle 🙂


    September 29, 2015 at 4:43 PM

    • You have poison ivy in New Zealand? Are you sure what you have there is really this American plant that causes severe contact dermatitis?

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 29, 2015 at 10:06 PM

  7. I love the contrasting textures and the contrasting but subtle colours in this shot. The first thing which sprang to my mind was a kind of feathery centipede or sea creature. When I showed my daughter who is a student of human anatomy she told me it reminds her of a cadaver that has an exposed spinal cord showing the long tendrils of peripheral nerves, especially at the cauda equina (Latin for horse’s tail)! 🙂


    September 29, 2015 at 10:26 PM

    • Now that’s a unique take on a poison ivy vine with rootlets: a cadaver that has an exposed spinal cord showing the long tendrils of peripheral nerves. A feathery centipede or sea creature is also an imaginative way to look at it. Like mother, like daughter.

      Your mention of cauda equina reminds me of a native plant we have here that I saw some of this morning: horseweed. And more literally there’s the horsetail that you recently saw a dragonfly perched on.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 29, 2015 at 11:03 PM

  8. wow. this is amazing.


    September 30, 2015 at 12:00 AM

  9. My first reaction is ‘creepy’ and then ‘ditto’ to Jane’s comment.


    September 30, 2015 at 5:56 AM

    • We can take ‘creepy’ in its literal sense, as this vine creeps up tree trunks, sometimes making it high into the canopy. There’s another local vine (which some people confuse with poison ivy) that’s known as Virginia creeper, and the sometimes can be found climbing the same tree.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 30, 2015 at 7:02 AM

  10. Cool! I’ve often thought about making a similar image, but have not, so I admire this for two reasons…well, three actually. You did it, it’s a nice image and the way the vine clasps the bark is a lovely interesting feature all on its own.

    Steve Gingold

    October 2, 2015 at 5:21 AM

  11. I see this far more often than I like to around here. That said its leaves in fall are excellent!


    October 6, 2015 at 11:56 PM

    • Austin being so far south that it doesn’t have large-scale fall color, I look forward to the smaller sources of it each fall, and poison ivy is certainly one of those.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 7, 2015 at 4:27 AM

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