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Toxicodendron vernix (L.) Kuntze
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.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
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.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow , Green , Brown
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul
DistributionUSA: 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 ConditionsLight Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
BenefitUse 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.)
Find Seed or Plants
View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the ArchiveWildflower Newsletter 1985 VOL. 2, NO.3 - Greenhouse Assists Research, Wild color on the Hills, Director's Report, Clearin...
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Toxicodendron vernix in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Toxicodendron vernix in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Toxicodendron vernix
MetadataRecord Modified: 2012-06-20
Research By: TWC Staff