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Native Plant Database

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Toxicodendron vernix (Poison sumac)
Smith, R.W.

Toxicodendron vernix

Toxicodendron vernix (L.) Kuntze

Poison sumac

Anacardiaceae (Sumac Family)

Synonym(s): Rhus vernix

USDA Symbol: tove

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

Poisonous yet attractive narrow-crowned shrub or small tree with waxy whitish berries and dramatic fall foliage.

 

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Pinnate
Leaf Shape: Ovate
Leaf Margin: Entire
Size Notes: Height up to 15 feet.
Fruit: White. 1/4-1/3 inch across.
Size Class: 6-12 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow , Green , Brown
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul

Distribution

USA: AL , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IL , IN , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MS , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , PA , RI , SC , TN , TX , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: NS , ON , QC
Native Distribution: Extreme S. Quebec and Maine south to central Florida, west to E. Texas, and north to SE. Minnesota; mostly confined to Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains and Great Lakes region; to 1000 (305 m).
Native Habitat: Wet soil of swamps, bogs, seepage slopes, and frequently flooded areas; in shady hardwood forests.

Growing Conditions

Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet

Benefit

Use Wildlife: The fruit of Poison Sumac is not toxic to birds or animals and is consumed by many kinds of wildlife, such as bobwhites, pheasants, grouse, and rabbits, especially in winter, when other food is scarce.
Use Other: A black varnish can be made from the sap, as in a related Japanese species.
Warning: POISONOUS PARTS: All parts, in all seasons if plant sap contacted. Severe skin irritation upon contact. Symptoms include severe skin redness, itching, swelling, and blisters following direct or indirect contact. Toxic Principle: Urushiol. (Poisonous Plants of N.C.)
Attracts: Birds

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

Region:AGCPAKAWCBEMPGPHIMWNCNEWMVE
Status: OBL OBL OBL OBL
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter1985 VOL. 2, NO.3 - Greenhouse Assists Research, Wild color on the Hills, Director's Report, Clearin...

Additional resources

USDA: Find Toxicodendron vernix in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Toxicodendron vernix in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Toxicodendron vernix

Metadata

Record Last Modified: 2012-06-20
Research By: TWC Staff

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