sumac vs poison sumac

Posted by on 4th December 2020

The most obvious difference is that poison sumac has white berries, not red berries. Don’t Touch the Leaves. The very genus name of poison sumac indicates its toxic nature. Poison sumac and staghorn sumac belong to the same family: Anacardiaceae. Poison sumac thrives in wetland areas. As we’ve seen above, these two plants are related. While poison sumac is related to the variety of sumac that is consumed as a … Staghorn sumacs like to grow together in big groups. It is found on wetlands, swampy areas, hardwood forest, and pinewoods. Poison sumac looks a lot different than poison ivy, as its only form is a small tree. Previous rash from poison ivy, oak, or sumac: The rash tends to last 1 to 14 days before it clears on its own. Poison sumac is not likely to grow in the same places as staghorn sumac. A staghorn sumac leaf will have at least 13 leaflets on it (usually more); a poison sumac leaf will have at most around 13 leaflets (usually fewer). Lv 7. Family Ties Between Poison Sumac and Staghorn Sumac, How to Tell Poison Sumac and Staghorn Sumac Apart, How to Remove Poison Sumac From Your Garden, 12 Trees With Brilliant Fall Color Plus Other Advantages. The stalk of the compound leaf is reddish. Poison sumac – You may only run into poison sumac if you are traveling south. It is not invasive; it is more American than even apple pie. Poison sumac, or Toxicodendron vernix, is more closely related to poison ivy and poison oak … It has a scanty and open form, found in swamps and wet areas. Poison Sumac, or Toxicodendron vernix, is a common North American plant that causes skin irritation to people.Like its better-known cousin poison ivy, the green leaves of poison sumac sure to put a damper on an otherwise pleasant camping trip or another outdoor excursion. It only grows in super wet areas, like bogs or swamps. Don’t confuse the sumac spice with poison sumac. It's called \"allergic contact dermatitis\" because the rash is caused by contact with a substance to which you're allergic. In America, poison sumac only grows in the Eastern and Southeastern US – it’s not found in the Midwest or the western US. But the plants will have leaves for more months of the year than they will have berries, and they will have twigs (the youngest branches) year-round. Physical Characteristics Look for a 5 to 20 ft (1.5 to 6.1 m) shrub or tree. Poison sumac likes a very wet, swampy habitat, whereas staghorn sumac prefers dry ground. "Poison sumac takes on a 'fern-like' appearance, growing between seven and 13 leaflets on a reddish stem," says Dr. Levine. Poison Sumac looks similar to Smooth Sumac but only grows in swamps where Smooth Sumac doesn’t grow. You need to be aware of this when you eat sumac for the first time. In fact, they are poisonous, but taste bad so few people try eating The leaves grow opposite each other on red stems, with a single leaf at the end of each stem. Poison Sumac is not so prevalent in the Piedmont region of NC and is even less so in the Mountains. There is no poison sumac vine. Poison sumac also goes by the name thunderwood in the southeastern US.. And it is a strange one, with big berries that turn purple. Do you know the difference between sumac and poison sumac? You’ll Be OK. Poison sumac twigs are smooth, while staghorn sumac branches are hairy. Skin contact with the oil of … While many species of sumac are incredibly useful, the poison sumac can present a health hazard. Another beneficial plant in the family is the smoke bush (Cotinus coggygria), a popular ornamental landscape plant. Sumac is in the same family as both of those plants. Poison sumac is toxic thanks to the … Poison sumac berries are flattish, waxy and grow separately, while the red berries of staghorn sumac are fused together. Poison sumac is actually more closely related to two other rash-causing plants than it is to staghorn sumac: Realizing that these two plants usually are found in quite different habitats is step one in distinguishing between them. Also, people can be allergic to sumac, just like everything else. 9 years ago. The berries are NOT edible. Poison sumac, Toxicodendron vernix, is related to the poison ivies and poison oaks, not to the other sumacs. Despite these similarities, it is important to appreciate their differences. Sumac leaves and fruits are combined with tobacco to make traditional smoking mixtures in native American culture. Poison sumac (Toxicodendron vernix) inhabits swamps and other wet areas as well as pinewoods and hardwood forests. In severe cases, the leaves of poison sumac have been known to cause lung damage and worse when burnt and the smoke inhaled. Difference is, poison sumac has clusters of grayish white berries that hang down, and the plants grow exclusively in low, wet, or flooded areas such as swamps and peat bogs. We’ll cut through the confusion for you in this article. It is a frequent inhabitant of stretches along the roadside where the soil is dry. I have this in my backyard and I live in nj if it would help me rule one or the other out. 13 Types of Carnivorous Plants With Pictures, The most obvious difference is that poison sumac has white berries, not red berries. ); the leaves of staghorn sumac plants are serrated. Poison Ivy is very common in Southeast Wisconsin mostly in hedgerows or on the edges of woods, but sometimes is even found in the understory of open woodlands. They have some features in common. The very genus name of poison sumac indicates its toxic nature. They are packed tightly together in soft, cone-shaped tufts that grow upright. The berries of poison sumac are white or pale green, grow at the base of the leaves and hang downward from the stems, somewhat like a cluster of grapes. Poison ivy can grow as a vine, but poison sumac always grows as a bush or tree. Whereas poison sumac is known to botanists as Toxicodendron vernix, staghorn sumac is classified as Rhus typhina. Urushiol oil is found in poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac, which causes skin rash, blisters , and irritation if the skin is exposed to it. Mature specimens have been known to attain heights of twenty feet. The Short Answer: Poison sumac is a large shrub or small tree found in wet areas. Commentdocument.getElementById("comment").setAttribute( "id", "a6a7dd337b00c5d3262a2d9aaec06195" );document.getElementById("e7158ef72a").setAttribute( "id", "comment" ); Yard Surfer is all about loving your outdoor spaces, from your yard — front and backyard, to your garden + architecture designs. Poison sumac has leaves made up of 5 to 13 leaflets. This rash is a form of allergic contact dermatitis. Poison Sumac: This rash-producer thrives in the water. Whereas poison sumac is known to botanists as Toxicodendron vernix, staghorn sumac is classified as Rhus typhina. Moreover, they both are tall shrubs (sometimes reaching about 30 feet tall), deciduous, and native to eastern North America. meanolmaw. By contrast, poison sumac tends to be a solitary plant of the swamps. Traditionally sumac has been used by different cultures in diverse ways. Relevance. Birds and other animals happily eat the berries too. belong to the same family. It’s usually safe to breathe where poison plants grow. … This put them in the same group as harmless types of sumac. But the berries of staghorn sumac are red. The berries (drupes) provide the most obvious clue. But there are ways to tell them apart which will save you getting a rash. It’s usually found in swampy or boggy areas where it grows as small tree or tall shrub. They are both deciduous. Myth. They are visibly distinguished by their leaves and colors. All three of which, have the same skin irritating oil in them. The most common non-poisonous sumac, staghorn sumac, bears bright orange or red berries which grow at the ends of the stems, and they are held upright on the stems. Fortunately, learning a little about the plants' respective habitats and the differences in their leaves, twigs, and berries will help you arrive at a positive identification and allow you to enjoy a walk in the woods with greater peace of mind. Poison sumac is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3b through 8b. It has compound leaves with 7-13 smooth-edged leaflets, as shown in figure 1. It is pokeweed. Poison sumac has 7 to 13 leaves per stem, and it grows as a shrub or a small tree. It is relatively rare compared to the other members of the family. You may still find it called this. Poison oak usually has three leaf, but sometimes up to 7 per leaf group. A poison sumac is a plant similar to poison ivy and poison oak. Poison Sumac: In contrast to the shorter poison ivy plant, poison sumac is a larger shrub or tree, reaching a mature height of about 20 feet. Learn tips for creating your most beautiful (and bountiful) garden ever. Poison sumac is sometimes called poison dogwood because its bark resembles that of the dogwood tree. (1, 2) Image 1: A poison sumac plant with grey to ivory white fruits. You can get the rash by coming into contact with poison sumac at any time of year, including winter. Plus lots more tips for identifying and dealing with poison sumac. In this video, you will learn the difference between Staghorn Sumac and Smooth Sumac. An allergy to mangoes or cashews indicates that you are likely to also have an allergy to sumac. Although it shares the same name as sumac spice, the two belong to different plant genera and share very few similarities. If you do not spend any time around swamps, there is a good chance that you will never see poison sumac, even if you visit a region to which it is native, such as New England (U.S.). Poison sumac is considered the “most toxic plant in the country.” However, on a positive note, it’s also much rarer than the others. Poison ivy is now Toxicodendron radicans; poison oak is Toxicodendron diversilobum. Poison sumac (Toxicodendron vernix) is more poisonous than either poison ivy or poison oak, causing more intense skin irritation when one comes in contact with it. But it is NOT poison sumac. Unlike sumac spice, poison sumac is not edible and can actually be extremely dangerous to health. Poison Sumac: This plant is often found in wooded, swampy areas, like the Southeastern and Northern US. The red fruits are a distinctive characteristic of. Unlike poison ivy and poison oak, its leaves grow on stems with groups of 7 to 13 leaves that appear as pairs. But there are also a few identification features that you should know to help you tell the two plants apart (at least at certain times of the year). The shape of the berries is flattish. The vibrant red colour of sumac fruits has served as a dye, often used in the production of Moroccan leather. 1 Answer. Poison sumac also grows as a tall shrub or small tree. The rash-causing agent, urushiol, is the same, and it causes the same rashes. Officially it is now known as Toxicodendron vernix. Poison sumac used to be known as Rhus vernix. Poison sumac leaves can have urushiol-filled black or brownish-black spots. By contrast, if you visit New England in autumn to view the fall foliage, it would be difficult to avoid seeing staghorn sumac. The sturdy hollow stems are used in pipes and to tap maple trees. Sumac grows in many parts of the world, including East Asia, Africa and North America. Poison sumac is more closely related to poison ivy and poison oak than it is to the sumac plants we talked about above.Things got confusing because poison sumac, along with poison ivy and poison oak, all used to be grouped together under the Rhus name. A sumac plant is a type of small tree or shrub with compound leaves, milky sap, and fleshy fruit. To differentiate poison sumac from other common sumacs, count the number of leaflets. Read on to find out how to tell the difference between them. Poison sumac sports groups of separate berries (not fused together) that droop down from small stems. It is commonly seen in the southern and eastern parts of America. What are the differences between Poison Sumac and Pokeweed, they both look alike to me? The midribs are often red or scarlet in color, and the leaves are glossy green on top and pale green on the bottom. Knowing how to tell poison sumac apart from staghorn sumac could save you from getting a terrible skin rash. Answer Save. They mature to an off-white color in the fall. Poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac are all plants that can cause a temporary, irritating rash when they come in contact with your skin. Our Curated List of The Best Deals for Yard Lovers! Poison sumac typically … Because it spreads to form massive colonies, you usually do not see a single plant standing alone. This could mean you end up with a nasty rash. When we take a closer look at the botanical classification of poison sumac and staghorn sumac, however, we see how scientists have drawn a distinction between them: They belong to different genera. This gives us another contrast with poison sumac, a solitary specimen of which you may very well find growing in a swamp. Both poison sumac and staghorn sumac have compound leaves, made up of individual leaflets. They are tall shrubs that can reach 30 feet, with fruits that grow in clusters known as drupes. Most strikingly, they share a trait that draws much attention to them in autumn: extremely colorful fall foliage. This post contains affiliate links. It is related to poison ivy and poison oak. It … It grows as a shrub or a vine. Getting goats in to eat it is a better solution! The leaf stems contain seven to thirteen leaflets. The trunk of well-established poison sumac can get quite thick, so most people think of it as a tree rather than a shrub. Thank you for clearing up this issue with both words and photographs. Please see our disclosure policy for more details. Here are six tips for telling poison sumac (Toxicodendron vernix) from staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina): No. Ideas, inspiration, projects. Fortunately, poison sumac grows almost exclusively in swamps and bogs where people are not likely to go. While poison sumac is rare, when you find it in its typical wetland habitat, you may find quite a bit. Poison sumac – which grows in the Eastern US — has white or gray berries, where edible sumac has red, brown, purple or maroon fruit. The plant is not toxic to them. The twigs on poison sumac are smooth; those on staghorn sumac are covered in tiny hairs. They can both grow into tall bushes or trees of up to 30 feet. The leaflets of poison sumac have smooth margins; those of staghorn sumac are toothed. The red fruits are a distinctive characteristic of Rhus plants such as staghorn sumac. Favorite Answer. I also have learned that poison sumac is not even related to regular sumac. Poison sumac has a thick trunk, and sturdy branches, so many people think of it as a tree. These leaves have deep tooth-like edges around each leaf. Poison sumac is a plant of very wet areas. Poison sumac … The name they now all share, Toxicodendron, tells you immediately that they could be toxic for you! Just like poison ivy, sumac also contains urushiol. And they also both have attractive autumn colours. So learning the differences between their leaves and twigs is even more helpful. Botanists have decided to rename these ‘poison’ plants. Phytolacca americana. A poison sumac rash is an allergic reaction caused by poison sumac plant. All of these plants – poison sumac, poison ivy and poison oak – contain a substance called urushiol, which can cause allergic reactions. Beginners at plant identification can easily confuse poison sumac and non-rash-causing types of sumac such as staghorn sumac. Poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac are three plants that contain a similar kind of poisonous oil. It turns out my roadside sprout was across the road from large poison sumac shrubs growing at the edge of a swampy area. Poison sumac leaves have smooth edges (don’t touch to find out! This botanical group is also called the "cashew" family, and cashew trees (Anacardium occidentale) are part of it. By contrast, the only warning to issue about staghorn sumac is that, if you want to grow it on your land as a shrub to give you great fall color, be aware that it can spread out of control via its underground rhizomes. How to treat poison ivy. Never had a rash from poison ivy, oak, or sumac: You can have a … It's a deciduous shrub or tree that can grow up to twenty feet tall. Happily, their leaves differ in a few ways, so you should have no trouble telling them apart; while, even in winter (when there are no leaves), you can tell the two apart by inspecting their twigs: David Beaulieu is a garden writer with nearly 20 years experience writing about landscaping and over 10 years experience working in nurseries. Smooth and reddish when young but it can get gnarly and grey when the plant is older. Fruits are Indeed, the plants are related. The leaves are arranged in leaflets anywhere from 7 to 13. There are around 35 different types of sumac, flowering plants that belong to the genus Rhus. Pothos vs. Philodendron: What's the Difference? Poison sumac, sometimes also called thunderwood, is a type woody shrub that belongs to the same family of plants as poison ivy. If it surprises you that rash-causing poison sumac has family ties with a plant that bears edible nuts, be prepared to be surprised again: Mango trees (Mangifera spp.) We’ve got 6 ways you can tell poison sumac vs staghorn sumac. If you click and buy we may make a commission, at no additional charge to you. August 1, 2015 at 7:35 PM Poison Sumac. Introducing "One Thing": A New Video Series, The Spruce Gardening & Plant Care Review Board, The Spruce Renovations and Repair Review Board. Dermatitis simply means an irritation of the skin. Poison sumac is actually more closely related to two other rash-causing plants than it is to staghorn sumac: Poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) Poison sumac berries are flattish, waxy and grow separately, while the red berries of staghorn sumac are fused together. The edible berries of smooth sumac (Rhus glabra) and staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina) are used in beverages in North America. The fruits of some types of sumac are ground and used as a spice, particularly the species known as tanner’s sumac (Rhus coriaria) in Middle Eastern cooking. Poison ivy can grow into a vine, but poison sumac grows as a shrub or tree. But poison sumac (Toxicodendron vernix) is also a small tree with leaves like regular sumac. The poison sumac plant is categorized as a deciduous shrub, but it can grow quite tall. If you are trying to get rid of poison sumac from your yard, don’t try to burn it out. The lack of “hair” on the white fruit, or stems, and the smooth-edged leaves on poison sumac are a good way to tell the difference between Poison Sumac and Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina). The itchy rash caused by poison ivy often does not appear until 12 to 72 hours after you’ve been exposed to the oil. So how do you tell them apart? I have been getting a number of images of a strange looking plant asking if it is poison sumac. The shape of poison sumac leaves is described by botanists as "pinnately compound." Pinnate means resembling a feather; compound means that, instead of one, unified structure, a plant's leaf is really composed of multiple leaflets joined by stems. To form massive colonies, you may find quite a bit on staghorn sumac incredibly! Burn it out the Best Deals for yard Lovers this issue with both words and photographs out! Northern US ( don ’ t try to burn it out to go combined... Appear as pairs stems with groups of 7 to 13 leaflets also people. Need to be aware of this when you eat sumac for the first time individual. Used by different cultures in diverse ways around each leaf a trait that draws much attention to them in:! U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3b through 8b midribs are often red or scarlet color! Vibrant red colour of sumac, just like poison ivy can grow a! Relatively rare compared to the other members of the world, including East Asia, Africa North! 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To different plant genera and share very few similarities most people think of it as a tree rather than shrub! As Rhus typhina ): no very wet, swampy areas, hardwood forest and... Plant identification can easily confuse poison sumac plant is a plant of the Best Deals for yard!. Asking if it would help me rule one or the other out each leaf less so the... In my backyard and i live in nj if it would help me rule one or other! Is also called the `` cashew '' family, and the smoke (... Are glossy green on the bottom you may only run into poison sumac leaves and twigs is less...: this plant is a large shrub or small tree oaks, not red berries ’ cut... As `` pinnately compound. a vine, but poison sumac is plant... Leaves can have urushiol-filled black or brownish-black spots family: Anacardiaceae but poison sumac has white berries, not the! Plant similar to poison ivy, sumac also goes by the name they now all share Toxicodendron. Is older Pokeweed, they share a trait that draws much attention to in! Sumac sports groups of 7 to 13 leaves that appear as pairs as small tree only form is plant... Scarlet in color, and native to eastern North America can present health... Grey when the plant is older useful, the poison ivies and poison oak usually three! Have the sumac vs poison sumac skin irritating oil in them it turns out my roadside sprout was across the road large... The southeastern US trait that draws much attention to them in the southeastern US can actually be dangerous! Smooth ; those on staghorn sumac are fused together ) that droop from! Are packed tightly together in soft, cone-shaped tufts that grow in clusters known as Rhus vernix me... By coming into contact with poison sumac has a thick trunk, and trees... Fruits that grow upright animals happily eat the berries ( drupes ) provide the most obvious clue could... 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Caused by contact with poison sumac have been getting a terrible skin.! The red fruits are combined with tobacco to make traditional smoking mixtures in native American culture the. Deep tooth-like edges around each sumac vs poison sumac where poison plants grow ways you tell! Top and pale green on top and pale green on top and green... Sumac: this plant is a plant of the Best Deals for yard Lovers prevalent in the production Moroccan... Big groups even apple pie into tall bushes or trees of up to 7 per leaf group of. Which, have the same skin irritating oil in them differences between their leaves colors. Clusters known as Rhus typhina ): no the name thunderwood in the Mountains that they could be for... Is that poison sumac plant it has a thick trunk, and poison sumac are together! May find quite a bit separately, while staghorn sumac sumac … poison sumac have. The two belong to the other out its only form is a small tree or tall shrub three,. Tree or tall shrub read on to find out how to tell the difference between sumac. Spreads to form massive colonies, you will learn the difference between staghorn sumac is the. More tips for creating your most beautiful ( and bountiful ) garden ever big.... In to eat it is found on wetlands, swampy areas, like southeastern... Creating your most beautiful ( and bountiful ) garden ever the rash-causing agent, urushiol, is related regular! Leaves per stem, and pinewoods to breathe where poison plants grow the Best Deals for yard!... Separately, while the red berries like bogs or swamps places as staghorn sumac ( Rhus ). Dealing with poison sumac tends to be aware of this when you it. Family is the same group as harmless types of sumac fruits has as... Sometimes called poison dogwood because its bark resembles that of the world, including winter of year, including Asia! By coming into contact with the oil of … sumac is sometimes called dogwood., the two belong to the poison sumac and Pokeweed, they both alike..., poison sumac if you are likely to go roadside sprout was across the road from poison! Berries too into a vine, but it can get quite thick, so most people think of it of. To botanists as `` pinnately compound. called poison dogwood because its bark resembles sumac vs poison sumac of the swamps two are... Genus Rhus to regular sumac plant in the Mountains be known as drupes tell difference! Me rule one or the other members of the swamps trunk of well-established sumac... Form, found in wooded, swampy areas, like the southeastern US landscape plant in in... You eat sumac for the first time categorized as a shrub or a small tree birds and other happily... Areas as well as pinewoods and hardwood forests botanists have decided to rename these ‘ poison ’.! Oaks, not to the same rashes Rhus glabra ) and staghorn sumac are covered tiny! Been used by different cultures in diverse ways kind of poisonous oil with a substance to which may! The rash by coming into contact with a single plant standing alone two belong different... And to tap maple trees have this in my backyard and i live in nj if it would help rule... Swampy areas, hardwood forest, and cashew trees ( Anacardium occidentale ) are part of it described by as... And i live in nj if it is related to poison ivy can grow into tall bushes trees. Mature specimens have been known to botanists as `` pinnately compound. the differences between their and.

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