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Poison Sumac Toxicodendron vernix

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Rhus vernix
Phonetic Spelling
toks-ee-ko-DEN-dron VER-niks
This plant has medium severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Poisonous Sumac is a woody shrub in the cashew family and is native to Eastern USA and parts of Canada. It is found in scattered areas of NC from the mountains to the coast, particularly in wetland areas. The sap can cause dermatitis similar to poison ivy or poison oak.

Not recommended for home landscapes.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#poisonous#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#poisonous#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Toxicodendron
    Species:
    vernix
    Family:
    Anacardiaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Wildlife Value:
    Bobwhites, pheasants, and grouse consume the fruits in winter.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Poisonous
    Tree
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Occasional Flooding
    Occasionally Wet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    White
    Fruit Type:
    Drupe
    Fruit Description:
    Fruit a smooth, yellow drupe
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    8 inch long and 4 inch wide panicles of green or greenish-yellow 1/8 inch flowers are produced in the axils of leaves in late spring to early summer.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Orange
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Oblanceolate
    Oblong
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Alternate compound medium to dark green leaves are 6-14" long and odd-pinnate with 7-13 leaflets. Individual leaflets are oval and 2-4" long and 1-1¾" across with smooth margins. Undersides are smooth and paler. Fall color is orange to red. Can be distinguished from young Ash trees due to the alternate arrangement.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Gray
    Bark Description:
    Trunk bark is light gray and relatively smooth, except for scattered lenticels that resemble small bumps
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Cream/Tan
    Orange
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Bud Scales:
    Enclosed in more than 2 scales
    Stem Lenticels:
    Conspicuous
    Stem Description:
    Twigs are orange, tan, reddish, or brown and usually glabrous with numerous small lenticels. The terminal buds are prominent and purplish-red.
  • Landscape:
    Problems:
    Contact Dermatitis
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Medium
    Poison Symptoms:
    Irritation of skin and mucous membranes from sap or if smoke from burning plant is inhaled.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Urushiol
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes
    Poison Part:
    Fruits
    Leaves