Poison oak is prevalent throughout the Canyon, especially in the creek beds. Please don’t let children run in and around the creek unobserved. Make sure that they recognize this most unforgiving weed and understand the consequences of touching it. If you are unsure of what poison oak looks like, have one of our staff point it out to you. The leaves are about a third of an inch to two inches. The leaves of the poison oak are compound. They are usually made up of three leaflets. This is why you should follow the saying " three leaves let 'em be" when hiking in the forest. The flowers of the poison oak are white-green and grow like berry's on very thin stems. The berry's are white and glossy. In the summer they take on a raisin-like appearance. Unfortunately, Poison Oak changes appearance every season. So you can never stick to one definate way of recognizing them.
In the fall, poison oak is a yellowish red. In the winter, the sticks are bare. The way you can tell if an ordinary stick is poison oak is if it has three branches (kind of like the leaves) In the spring, they take on a beautiful appearance by producing white apple blossom looking flowers. During the summer, poison oak loses its flowers, and its leaves turn maroon to a fire engine red. In the winter, poison oak loses all its leaves and can be dangerously deceiving because it looks like a regular bare stick. The scary fact is that it is still contagious. In the fall, poison oak becomes a yellowish brown. Poison oak can also climb. It is common to find poison oak climbing along the walls of abandoned or deserted buildings.