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Rhus vernix - L.

Common Name Poison Sumach
Family Anacardiaceae
USDA hardiness 3-7
Known Hazards This plant contains toxic substances and skin contact with it can cause severe irritation to some people[11]. The sap is extremely poisonous[11]. The sap contains 3-N pentadecycatechnol. Many people are exceedingly sensitive to this, it causes a severe spreading dermatitis. The toxins only reach the skin if the plant tissues have been damaged, but even indirect contact can cause severe problems[200].
Habitats Wooded swamps, often inundated for part of the year[4, 43, 82].
Range Eastern N. America - Maine to Vermont and Ontario, south to Florida, Missouri and Louisiana.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Wet Soil Full sun
Rhus vernix Poison Sumach


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rhus_vernix_Ypey40.jpg
Rhus vernix Poison Sumach
USDA Plant Database

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Rhus vernix is a deciduous Shrub growing to 3 m (9ft 10in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 3 and is not frost tender. It is in flower in July, and the seeds ripen from September to November. The species is dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required). and is pollinated by Bees. The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist or wet soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

R. venenata. Toxicodendron vernix. (L.)Shafer.

Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Bog Garden;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Oil
Edible Uses: Oil

None known

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Febrifuge  Miscellany  Skin

Poison sumach has occasionally been used medicinally, though it is an extremely poisonous plant and great caution should be exercised. Any herbal use should only be undertaken under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. See also the notes above on toxicity. The plant has been used in the treatment of fevers, ague, ulcerated bladder, asthma and wasting diseases[257]. The plant has been used as a wash to treat foul ulcers[257].

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Other Uses

Dye  Ink  Miscellany  Mordant  Oil  Varnish  Wood

The leaves are rich in tannin. They can be collected as they fall in the autumn and used as a brown dye or as a mordant[169]. An oil is extracted from the seeds[4]. It attains a tallow-like consistency on standing and is used to make candles. These burn brilliantly, though they emit a pungent smoke[4]. An indelible black ink can be made from the sap[226]. A varnish is obtained from the sap, it is black, lustrous and durable[19, 82].The final product is toxic[226]. Wood - light, soft, coarse grained[82]. It weighs 27lb per cubic foot[235].

Special Uses

Cultivation details

Succeeds in a well-drained fertile soil in full sun[11, 200]. Requires a moist soil[14]. The young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. Plants have brittle branches and these can be broken off in strong winds[200]. Plants are also susceptible to coral spot fungus[11]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. Many of the species in this genus, including this one, are highly toxic and can also cause severe irritation to the skin of some people, whilst other species are not poisonous. It is relatively simple to distinguish which is which, the poisonous species have axillary panicles and smooth fruits whilst non-poisonous species have compound terminal panicles and fruits covered with acid crimson hairs[1, 4]. The toxic species are sometimes separated into their own genus, Toxicodendron, by some botanists[200]. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

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Propagation

Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in hot water (starting at a temperature of 80 - 90c and allowing it to cool) prior to sowing in order to leach out any germination inhibitors[200]. The stored seed also needs hot water treatment and can be sown in early spring in a cold frame[200]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame[200]. Root cuttings 4cm long taken in December and potted up vertically in a greenhouse. Good percentage[78, 200]. Suckers in late autumn to winter[200].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Rhus ambigua Climber0.0 6-9  LMHSNM00 
Rhus aromaticaLemon Sumach, Fragrant sumacShrub1.2 3-9 SLMHNDM422
Rhus chinensisChinese Gall, Chinese sumacTree6.0 7-10  LMHNM23 
Rhus copallinaDwarf Sumach, Winged sumac, Flameleaf Sumac, Winged Sumac, Shining SumacShrub2.0 4-10 FLMHNDM423
Rhus coriariaElm-Leaved Sumach, Sicilian sumacShrub3.0 8-11  LMHNDM21 
Rhus diversilobaWestern Poison Oak, Pacific poison oakShrub2.5 4-8  LMHNM02 
Rhus glabraSmooth SumachShrub3.0 3-9 MLMHNDM433
Rhus integrifoliaLemonade Berry, Lemonade sumacShrub2.0 8-10 MLMHNDM20 
Rhus microphyllaDesert Sumach, Littleleaf sumacShrub2.0 8-11  LMHND20 
Rhus ovataSugar Bush, Sugar sumacShrub2.0 8-11  LMNDM21 
Rhus potaninii Tree12.0 4-8  LMHNM02 
Rhus punjabensis Tree12.0 5-9  LMHNM32 
Rhus punjabensis sinica Tree12.0 5-9  LMHNM32 
Rhus radicansPoison IvyClimber2.5 4-8 FLMHNM01 
Rhus sempervirens Shrub3.5 -  LMHNDM21 
Rhus succedaneaWax TreeTree9.0 4-9  LMHNM124
Rhus sylvestris Tree10.0 -  LMHNM00 
Rhus toxicodendronEastern Poison OakShrub0.6 6-9  LMHNDM02 
Rhus trichocarpa Tree6.0 -  LMHNM00 
Rhus trilobataSkunk Bush, Basketbush, Squawbush, Three Leaf SumacShrub1.8 4-6 MLMHNDM423
Rhus typhinaStag's Horn Sumach, Velvet Sumac, Staghorn SumacShrub6.0 4-8 FLMHNDM423
Rhus wallichii Tree8.0 -  LMHNM01 
Rhus x pulvinata Shrub3.0 0-0  LMHNDM422

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.

 

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