Common Name
Poison sumac
Botanic Name
Toxicodendron vernix (L.) Kuntze
Plant Family
Anacardiaceae (Cashew family)
Poison sumac is usually confined to wet areas such as pineland bogs in southern North America.
South eastern North America
Animals Affected
Toxic Principle
Poison sumac, poison oak, and poison ivy all contain a highly irritating allergenic phenolic compound called urushiol (oleoresin). The most toxic being the resin 3-n-pentadecylcatechol. All parts of the plant, green or dried, contain these compounds. The oily resin is not volatile or soluble in water but is soluble in alcohol. Smoke from burning the plants can contain droplets of the toxin and will affect people who are highly allergic to the toxin. The hair coat of animals may become contaminated with the resinous toxin if they are in close contact with the plants, and therefore can transmit the toxin to people who handle the animals. The animals themselves are rarely if ever affected by the urushiol, and goats and sheep have been observed eating poison ivy without apparent problems.
Poison sumac is a woody perennial, branching shrub or small tree with gray bark and leaves to 12 inches long, each with a distinctive red-purple(leaf stem)rachis. Leaflets are smooth, elliptic and entire. The flowers are small and yellowish white and produced in panicles. The fruits are white berries.
Consult your physician especially if you are very sensitive to the effects of the urushiol
Integumentary System
Some individuals who come into contact with the toxin develop a severe dermatitis characterized by reddening of the skin, intense itching, and the formation of blisters in the severely affected areas. With scratching, the blisters rupture leaving a sore that weeps serum.
Special Notes
Poison ivy, oak and sumac can be controlled and erradicated by treatment with Roundup. Consult your local weed extension specialist to obtain information on other herbicides approved in your area for the control of these plants
poison sumac fruits
poison sumac leaves