Poison Sumac (Common name)

General poisoning notes:

Poison sumac (Rhus vernix; synonymy Toxicodendron vernix) is a native shrub or vine found in southern Quebec and southern Ontario. The sap of this plant contains the allergen urushiol. The chemical is released when plant tissue is damaged. Humans are highly sensitive to allergic reaction, although at least one exposure is needed for sensitization. Mild to severe dermatitis can result from exposure to poison sumac (Mulligan 1990, Gayer and Burnett 1988).

References:

  • Epstein, W. L., Byers, V. S. 1981. Poison oak and poison ivy dermatitis. Prevention and treatment in forest service work. U.S. Dep. Agric. For. Serv. Rep., 14 pp.
  • Gayer, K. D., Burnett, J. W. 1988. Toxicodendron dermatitis. Cutis, 42: 99-100.
  • Mulligan, G. A. 1990. Poison ivy. Western poison oak. Poison sumac. Agric. Can. Publ., 1699. 13 pp.

Nomenclature:

Scientific Name:
Rhus vernix L.
Vernacular name(s):
poison sumac
Scientific family name:
Anacardiaceae
Vernacular family name:
cashew

Go to ITIS*ca for more taxonomic information on: Rhus vernix

References:

  • Agriculture Quebec. 1975. Noms des maladies des plantes du Canada/ Names of plant diseases in Canada. Quebec City, Que., Canada. 288 pp.
  • Alex, J. F., Cayouette, R., Mulligan, G. A. 1980. Common and botanical names of weeds in Canada/Noms populaire et scientifiques des plantes nuisibles du Canada. Revised. Agric. Can. Publ., Ottawa, Ont., Canada. 132 pp.
  • Bailey, L. H., Bailey, E. Z. 1976. Hortus third. Revised. MacMillan, New York, N.Y., USA. 1290 pp.
  • Scoggan, H. J. 1978, 1979. The flora of Canada. Nat. Mus. Nat. Sci. (Ottawa) Publ. Bot. 7(1)-7(4). 1711 pp.
  • Van Wijk, H. L. 1911. A dictionary of plant names. Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, The Netherlands. 1444 pp.
  • Victorin, M. 1964. Flore Laurentienne. 2nd ed. Univ. Montreal, Montreal, Que., Canada. 952 pp.

Geographic Information

  • Ontario
  • Quebec

References:

  • Bailey, L. H., Bailey, E. Z. 1976. Hortus third. Revised. MacMillan, New York, N.Y., USA. 1290 pp.
  • Boivin, B. 1966, 1967. Énumération des plantes du Canada. Provencheria 6. Nat. Can. (Que.) 93: 253-274; 371-437; 583-646; 989-1063. 94: 131-157; 471-528; 625-655.

Image or illustration

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Notes on Poisonous plant parts:

Most parts of poison sumac contain the allergen except the pollen, anthers, xylem, and epidermis. Damage to plant parts releases the sap that contains the allergen (Mulligan 1990). The allergen occurs in the plant sap, which is found in all plant parts except the pollen, anthers, xylem, and epidermis. If the stems are damaged they can release the allergen, even in the winter. The roots are also dangerous (Mulligan 1990).

Toxic parts:

  • all parts
  • leaves
  • mature fruit
  • plant juices
  • roots
  • stems

References:

  • Epstein, W. L., Byers, V. S. 1981. Poison oak and poison ivy dermatitis. Prevention and treatment in forest service work. U.S. Dep. Agric. For. Serv. Rep., 14 pp.
  • Mulligan, G. A. 1990. Poison ivy. Western poison oak. Poison sumac. Agric. Can. Publ., 1699. 13 pp.

Notes on Toxic plant chemicals:

Urushiol, an group of alkylcatechols, is found in the sap of poison sumac. The allergen is nonvolatile and can contaminate clothing, tools, and domestic animals. The allergen can be hazardous for a long time if the contaminated object remains dry (Gayer and Burnett 1988). See poison-ivy (Rhus radicans) for additional information.

Toxic plant chemicals:

  • urushiol oil

References:

  • Epstein, W. L., Byers, V. S. 1981. Poison oak and poison ivy dermatitis. Prevention and treatment in forest service work. U.S. Dep. Agric. For. Serv. Rep., 14 pp.
  • Gayer, K. D., Burnett, J. W. 1988. Toxicodendron dermatitis. Cutis, 42: 99-100.

Animals/Human Poisoning:

Note: When an animal is listed without additional information, the literature (as of 1993) contained no detailed explanation.

Humans

General symptoms of poisoning:

References:

  • Epstein, W. L., Byers, V. S. 1981. Poison oak and poison ivy dermatitis. Prevention and treatment in forest service work. U.S. Dep. Agric. For. Serv. Rep., 14 pp.
  • Mulligan, G. A. 1990. Poison ivy. Western poison oak. Poison sumac. Agric. Can. Publ., 1699. 13 pp.

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