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December 2012
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Poison Sumac is a woody shrub or small tree.

Images of Poison Sumac at

Poison Sumac, also known by the names Toxicodendron vernix or Rhus vernix is a woody shrub or small tree.

Overview of Poison Sumac

• This shrub can grow up to a height of 9 m (30 ft) tall.
• All parts of the plant contain a resin called usurious.
• This resin causes skin and mucous membrane irritation to humans.
• Hence the name Poison Sumac is given to this shrub.
• When burned, inhalation of the smoke may cause the rash to appear on the lining of the lungs. This causes extreme pain.
• It is possibly fatal respiratory difficulty.
• It can grow up to a height of nearly 30 feet.
• Each pinnate leaf has 7–13 leaflets.
• Each of the leaf is 2–4 inches long.
• These are oval-to-oblong.
• Its flowers are greenish and grow in loose axillary panicles.
• They are 3–8 inches long.
• The fruits are subglobose and gray.
• They are flattened.
• They are about 0.2 inches across.
• Poison sumac grows exclusively in very wet or flooded soils.

Scientific Classification of Poison Sumac

• Kingdom: Plantae
• (unranked): Angiosperms
• (unranked): Eudicots
• (unranked): Rosids
• Order: Sapindales
• Family: Anacardiaceae
• Genus: Toxicodendron
• Species: T. vernix

Growing and Caring conditions for Poison Sumac

• Look for plants at nurseries.
• Get them in spring and summer.
• They can be brought year-round in warmer climates.
• Choose healthy-looking plants.
• A healthy plant has signs of new leaves and flower buds.
• Buy Rhus plant in 1-gallon containers.
• Choose a site.
• The site should receive full sun.
• The site should have a well-drained soil.
• The plant can tolerate partial shade.
• Dig a hole for each plant.
• This hole should be no deeper than the soil in which the plant was growing.
• Dig planting holes.
• These holes should be spaced three feet apart.
• Add a light application of organic fertilizer.
• Apply it to each planting hole.
• This should be done before setting the plants in.
• Mulch around the plant and not on top of the plants
• Mulch it with 3 inches of organic compost.
• Water until the soil is completely moist.
• Water weekly the first summer only.
• Rhus plant does not need extra water once it is established.
• Prune out selected stems.
• Do so for the size.
• Prune if they are damaged.
• Prune it using by-pass pruners or a pruning saw.
• Do cut the stem off all the way back to the joint of the stem or where it joins another stem.
• Rhus plants make a good high ground cover for slopes.
• They look well along the top or bottom of a wall.
• They go well in a hot, sunny location.
• Rhus plants usually spread 6 to 8 feet all around.

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