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Toxicodendron radicans - Poison Ivy

Thomas Jefferson considered poison ivy to be an ornamental plant, possibly because of its dramatic fall color.1

Jefferson listed elaborate plans for the grounds at Monticello in his 1771 account book and in his garden book.2 Under "The Open Ground on the West — a shrubbery," Jefferson included "poison oak" under "Trees."3 This is probably a reference to poison ivy, perhaps categorized with trees because it is often found climbing up tree trunks. Jefferson also listed other vines under the same heading, including honeysuckle and "jessamine."

 

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