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Plant Details

Toxicodendron vernix [= Rhus vernix]

Poison Sumac

Scientific Name:

Toxicodendron vernix [= Rhus vernix]

Genus:

Toxicodendron

Species Epithet:

vernix

Common Name:

Poison Sumac

Plant Type

Tree/Shrub

Life Cycle

Perennial

Plant Family

Anacardiaceae (Cashew Family)

Native/Alien:

NC Native

Size:

0-1 ft., 1-3 ft., 3-6 ft., 6-12 ft., 12-36 ft.

Bloom Color(s):

Yellow, Green, Brown

Light:

Sun - 6 or more hours of sun per day, Part Shade - 2 to 6 hours of sun per day, Less than 2 hours of sun per day

Soil Moisture:

Moist, Wet

Bloom Time:

May, June

Growing Area:

Mountains, Piedmont, Sandhills, Coastal Plain

Habitat Description:

In peaty habitats, in the Coastal Plain frequent in streamhead pocosins and sandhill seepage bogs, in the mountains in bogs. Rare in NC Mountains and Piedmont, uncommon in Coastal Plain and Sandhills.

Leaf Arrangement:

Alternate

Leaf Retention:

Deciduous

Leaf Type:

Leaves veined, not needle-like or scale-like

Leaf Form:

Compound

Life Cycle:

Perennial

Wildlife Value:

Has some wildlife value

Landscape Value:

Not Recommended for home landscapes

Notes:

Shrub/small tree; leaves alternate, pinnately divided with 7-13 leaflets, the leaf stalk reddish; flowers small in axillary clusters; fruit a smooth, yellow drupe. Has brilliant red fall foliage.
Sap can cause contact dermatitis; all parts of the plant (except the pollen) contain the oil that causes the itchy rash. Never assume you are immune to this plant (or any of the other members of this genus, such as Poison Oak or Poison Ivy). Some folks react more to this plant than Poison Ivy or Poison Oak.

Bush

image

Tom Harville
Oct 07
Sandhills

Leaves

It doesn't have the leaves of three but let it be anyway!

image

Tom Harville

Easy to confuse with other non-poisonous sumacs

Leaves starting to turn

image

Tom Harville

Links:

USDA PLANTS Database Record

NC State Extension
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center


Bird-Friendly Native Plants



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