One of the best examples of such look-alikes is Ailanthus altissima (Tree-of-Heaven) and two native sumacs to the region, Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac) and Rhus glabra (smooth sumac). The fruits are generally red. Poison sumac has smooth leaves. Don’t confuse the sumac spice with poison sumac. Poison Sumac. Poison Sumac is not so prevalent in the Piedmont region of NC and is even less so in the Mountains. Mostly they involve pulling the plants out by the roots after taking precautions to make sure you don’t expose your skin to the poison ivy oil. Birds had likely spread the seeds across the road. Smooth sumac has smooth stems, like poison sumac. Staghorn Sumac is a member of the Anacardiaceae, the Sumac or Cashew family. This tree is wild and in some areas of the country invasive. However, its berries grow in dense clustered spikes rather than the looser arrangement found in poison sumac. Poison sumac is only found in the eastern half of the country. Most likely they produce urushiol to fend off sap-sucking insects. However, the flowers can really help if you want to keep (Sumac). I am the founder and main writer of AskaNaturalist.com. It’s not clear why people are so susceptible to urushiol. Your email address will not be published. It grows in many parts of the world – in North America, Europe, Middle East and the Mediterranean. Whats the best thing to get rid of poison sumac? The Natchez used the root of fragrant sumac to treat boils. Unlike the staghorn sumac, it has smooth, hairless stems and fruit. What It Is. Dwarf sumac can have the same number of leaflets as poison sumac, but the leaf stalk has “wings”, as show in figure 3, in keeping with its alternate name, winged sumac. If fact, it is rich in its contributions to the environment. More Info: Poison sumac, Toxicodendron vernix, is part of the large Anacardiaceae plant family. Both plants can grow together and may be difficult to tell apart. Dwarf sumac can have the same number of leaflets as poison sumac, but the leaf stalk has “wings”, as show in figure 3, in keeping with its alternate name, winged sumac. Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina), Smooth Sumac (Rhus glabra), and Shining Sumac (Rhus copallina) sucker profusely, and are despised by people with small yards that need to control them and can’t. The Staghorn and Smooth Sumac likes well drained hilly areas, though they are often by water - just not in standing water or soaked land. Also, be aware the oils can get on clothes and continue to be irritating whenever touched again (such as when doing laundry). An allergy to mangoes or cashews indicates that you are likely to also have an allergy to sumac. There are 250 geniuses of Sumac which can grow anywhere from four to 35 feet in size. But staghorn sumac is not poisonous.-----We used to call what you have "red sumac". Staghorn and smooth sumac have more than 13 leaflets, and the leaflets have a serrated edge. Also, where do you live? Very useful and informative, thank you. Poison sumac is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3b through 8b. Tree of Heaven vs. Sumac: How can you tell the difference? The poison sumac plant is categorized as a deciduous shrub, but it can grow quite tall. The leaves on sumac are toothed and pinnately compound.Â, The bud is surrounded by the leaf scar. Â. Staghorn and smooth sumac have more than 13 leaflets, and the leaflets have a serrated edge. Staghorn sumac has similar leaf arrangement to poison sumac but it has fuzzy fruit and stems. It is not invasive; it is more American than even apple pie. It is pokeweed. i have a bunch of trees that look like poison sumac it gets red flowers in the fall and is taking over my back yard just want to know if it is poison my yard is not wet and mostly gravel. But if you send some good photos of the leaves, I can probably tell you if it’s poison sumac. I have a red stemmed vine with 5 green leaves in a cluster, has galls on it, growing and sticking around my deck. It is a shrub which can grow to several metres in height. https://duncannonatc.org/doc-poison-ivy-poison-oak-and-poison-sumac/, https://www.poison-ivy.org/atlantic-poison-oak. This site is really useful for identifying poison sumac, poison ivy and poison oak:  http://www.poison-ivy.org/poison-sumac. Smooth sumac occurs in open woods, brushy areas along roadsides, and fencerows. Most of Pennsylvania seems to be missing poison oak. But you can't blame them for assuming that. But that may be because it’s covered in poison ivy instead. But the plants are probably not trying to irritate your skin. You will not find poison sumac growing up on high, dry hillsides where non-poisonous ornamental kinds typically grow. Mature specimens have been known to attain heights of twenty feet. The most prominent feature is the clusters of bright red berries that top the trees in the late summer and early fall. The house is in Athens NY in the Hudson Valley. Poison sumac likes a very wet, swampy habitat, whereas staghorn sumac prefers dry ground. There is poison ivy everywhere in the woods. Trivia: Required fields are marked *, 1,242,604 Spambots Blocked by Simple Comments, Designed by Elegant Themes | Powered by WordPress. The fruit is fuzzy, starts green, and turns to red. https://askanaturalist.com/how-do-you-identify-poison-sumac/. 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. Several Great Choices The most popular sumacs for landscape use are winged, staghorn, and smooth sumac, either the native wild species or specially-bred cultivated varieties such as the golden leaf “Tiger Eye” sumac. Also, it’s very hard to tell poison oak from poison ivy. Staghorn sumac parts were used in similar medicinal remedies. Poison sumac is not likely to grow in the same places as staghorn sumac. By contrast, poison sumac tends to be a solitary plant of the swamps. Hi Gaynell, Poison sumac does not have thorns. diversilobum, the relationships are not clear, which suggests that there has been significant hybridization between them over time. The stems are densely pubescent with a firm white pith. 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 ( … In any event, they can all make you miserable, so avoid them if you can. Phytolacca americana. If you could take some good pictures of the trees you think might be poison sumac, I might be able to tell you. And part of the property is damp clay swamp. The leaflets of poison sumac have smooth margins; those of staghorn sumac are toothed. In fact, they are poisonous, but taste bad so few people try eating In this video, you will learn the difference between Staghorn Sumac and Smooth Sumac. Some people report a sensitivity to all sumacs, so it’s a good idea to wear gloves and long clothing if you’re going to remove them. What time of year can I see monarchs in Mexico? A quick tip: Since the irritating urushiol is an oil, cleaning any skin that was touched by the oil with a great degreaser can prevent or at least minimize a reaction. It grows to about 25 feet tall and has an irregular, open crown with a flat top. Sumacs are plants from the genus Rhus that grow around the world, with over a dozen true sumac species in North America. Staghorn sumac has dentated leaves; in other words it has rough edges. Hi Tom, I have read that in Pennsylvania poison oak is not native there. Although it shares the same name as sumac spice, the two belong to different plant genera and share very few similarities. The Poison Sumac has white, green or grey colored berries. Sumac Spice vs. But can you send a photo to tom@askanaturalist.com? I familiarized myself with Poison Sumac of course prior to looking for the Staghorn and Smooth Sumac. Can you take a photo of your plant and email to me at tom@askanaturalist.com? One of the few easy ways to tell them apart for sure is that poison ivy berries are smooth, and poison oak berries are fuzzy. In fact, on a single plant of either species you can sometimes have smooth leaves that look ivy-like, and other leaves that look oak-like. In fact, many wildlife species will eat berries of poison sumac without contracting the same itchy rash most humans will suffer by just touching the plant! I live in the Northeast United States, and the area it’s growing is very warm and well watered but not swampy. Hi Carrie, Thanks for writing. The Short Answer: Poison sumac is a large shrub or small tree found in wet areas. Staghorn sumac is not to be confused with poison sumac. The Anacardiaceae includes cashew, mango, pistachio, and the “poisonous” plants so painfully familiar to North Americans. Poison sumac typically … Know what you are looking for, before foraging. Both Sumac and Tree of Heaven are in flower in northeast Ohio, which in fact is one of the best ways to tell them apart. Poison ivy can grow as a vine, but poison sumac always grows as a bush or tree. I live in Saylorsburg PA, Hi Barbara, I think you are largely correct. I have been getting a number of images of a strange looking plant asking if it is poison sumac. I have pics of Giant Hogweed if you’d like them. The fruit is white. You need to be aware of this when you eat sumac for the first time. and a good orange fall color. Staghorn Sumac is a native to Ohio and a great naturalizer plant. Poison sumac has a thick trunk, and sturdy branches, so many people think of it as a tree. When biologists use DNA sequences to figure out the relationships between the plants in the genus Toxicodendron, the relationships between Eastern poison-ivy, Toxicodendron radicans, Western poison-ivy, Toxicodendron rydbergii, Eastern poison-oak, Toxicodendron pubescens, and Western poison-oak, Toxicodendron However, the flowers can really help if you want to keep (Sumac… Staghorn Sumac - Rhus typhina is an attractive wood line plant with attractive fruits. Poison sumac leaves have smooth edges (don’t touch to find out! If you Google how to remove poison ivy, you’ll get some suggestions. It is a shrub which can grow to several metres in height. College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. The berries are NOT edible. Posted by Tom of AskaNaturalist.com | Jun 17, 2010 | Plants, Questions and Answers, Uncategorized | 17 |. They all produce urushiol, the oil that causes such an agonizing allergic reaction. To differentiate poison sumac from other common sumacs, count the number of leaflets. The buds are small and sit above a large heart-shaped leaf scar.Â, Both plants can grow together and may be difficult to tell apart. Poison sumac is not that common, and mostly grows in swamps. Also, you can count the leaves. Staghorn Sumac is a native to Ohio and a great naturalizer plant. Poison sumac is in the same genus as Eastern poison-ivy, Western poison-ivy, Eastern poison-oak, and Western poison-oak, which means it’s closely related to them. Poison Sumac. As for how to get rid of them, that’s beyond my expertise. Not Poison Sumac. But it is NOT poison sumac. Despite the name, poison sumac is included with species including poison oak and poison ivy in the Toxicodendron genus. 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. Yes, there is poison sumac (Toxicodendron vernix), which will definitely cause a rash that is worse than poison ivy (poison sumac is found only in swamps). I have an acre of property and most of it is wooded. Tree of Heaven is an invasive and extremely aggressive in growth and proliferation. I did find one range map that shows it in the southeast corner of PA. https://www.poison-ivy.org/poison-ivy-overview. Sure. In Missouri, staghorn sumac (introduced from states to our north and east) occurs along railroads, highways, and other open, disturbed areas. Staghorn Sumac, like many of our favorite edibles, is technically classified as a weed! So, when poison sumac is found in an out-of-the-way location, it’s best left alone to … The cashew plant, Anacardium occidentale, also produces urushiol, and cashews have to be handled and processed carefully to separate the cashew nut from the fruit and remove any urushiol from the nut. But staghorn sumac is not poisonous. We have sumac, scrub oak and weeds galore. How can I tell if it’s poison sumac growing near my roses? Sumac is in the same family as both of those plants. If there are more than 13 leaflets on a stem, it’s not poison sumac. Other sumacs such as staghorn sumac, Rhus typhina, are also members of the Anacardiaceae, but don’t necessarily produce urushiol. So I think you’re okay. The berries, roots, inner bark, and leaves of smooth and staghorn sumac were used to make dyes of various colors. Physical Characteristics Look for a 5 to 20 ft (1.5 to 6.1 m) shrub or tree. Poison sumac has up to 13 leaflets on the compound leaf, 6 pairs and one at the end. Winged sumac occurs in glades, upland prairies, savannas, openings of upland forests, and open disturbed areas. Someone above asked what helps get rid of the rash, and I have found that Chickweed Salve is very good for that, you can find it on amazon and it soothes/heals Sumac, Poison Oak, Ivy, Red Ant, and other Insect bites. Do you mean to get rid of the plants or get rid of the itching rash? Tree of Heaven is an invasive and extremely aggressive in growth and proliferation. Also known as velvet sumac due to its soft, fuzzy twigs, staghorn sumac is familiar to most people. Poison sumac, while it looks more like the harmless staghorn sumac than it does its poison ivy and poison oak relatives, is actually more closely related to its itchy family members. Do I stand corrected? Poison sumac, while it looks more like harmless staghorn sumac than like poison-ivy and poison-oak, is actually more closely related to its three-leafed poisonous relatives. It's leaves are pinnately compound with 11 to 31 lance-shaped leaflets. Poison sumac, sometimes also called thunderwood, is a type woody shrub that belongs to the same family of plants as poison ivy. The twigs on poison sumac are smooth; those on staghorn sumac are covered in tiny hairs. Sumac’s dried, ground fruit is a common spice in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking, and the dried berries can also be … While poison sumac is related to the variety of sumac that is consumed as a … Preschoolers: “What do we call this crazy swimming creature?”, Sumac relatives | Makulita - [...] Ask a Naturalist.com » How do you identify Poison Sumac?Jul 17, 2011 … I often hear people referring to…. This makes it difficult to determine where one species stops and the next begins. After all, until recently sumac, poison ivy, and poison oak were all classified under the same genus, Rhus.Then wiser minds prevailed and poison ivy and oak were moved to a different genus, Toxicodendron, which is Latin for "poison tree. Can you email photos to tom@askanaturalist.com? It has compound leaves with 7-13 smooth-edged leaflets, as shown in figure 1. Tecnu is an inexpensive OTC product found in many pharmacies that works well for urushiol (including skunk spray!). Also, people can be allergic to sumac, just like everything else. To be safe, DO NOT touch a Sumac unless you see the red berry clusters like in the included picture below. The Poison Sumac likes very damp or wet land. BUT it needs /works best to be applied to dry skin before you try to wash with soap and water, so having it on hand ahead of time and reading the directions first can be very helpful. Many people believe staghorn sumac is poisonous. This was my first impression when coming upon either Staghorn or Smooth Sumac. Doesn’t sound like poison ivy, since that grows in three leave clusters. Red flowers suggests staghorn sumac, not poison sumac. ); the leaves of staghorn sumac plants … Send your photo to tom@askanaturalist.com, in high resolution, if possible. Gunk hand degreaser used by mechanics may also work well. Rhus typhina, velvet or staghorn sumac of the Anacardiaceae family, to which mango, cashews and poison ivy all belong. And it is a strange one, with big berries that turn purple. Do We Replace Our Cells Every 7 or 10 years? Tree of Heaven Ailanthis altissima has flower clusters that cascade out and down from the center. The pictures look very close. Does poison sumac have white flowers and is thorny? 🙂. They are closely related and both are highly variable. May I send you a picture of the plant? Common Name: staghorn sumac, velvet sumac, Rhus hirta, scarlet sumac, upland sumac Family: Anacardiaceae Genus: Rhus Latin Name: Rhus typhina The staghorn sumac in some areas will grow more like a shrub than a tree. However, poison oak is found in New Jersey and in all the states to the south of Pennsylvania, and of course, plants don’t recognize borders, so it’s a fair bet that you could find poison oak in some parts of the state if you looked hard enough. However, like Eastwood’s good side in the movie, these same species can sooth us as we drive by on the freeway in a race to wherever. And the flowers are greenish. How do i get rid of the plants? Another key difference between staghorn sumac and poison sumac is the leaves. "This latter genus ialso ncludes a sumac impostor that does cause rashes, poison sumac (T. vernix). I’ve had many very severe and widespread reactions to ivy and oak, so I don’t want to take a chance removing it myself, if it is indeed sumac. Check the leaf count. To differentiate poison sumac from other common sumacs, count the number of leaflets. Is that a poison ivy or 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). Staghorn sumacs like to grow together in big groups. Could some of the small trees near the damp area be poison sumac? Birds and bears eat the berries of poison sumac, poison-ivy, and poison-oak and expose themselves to the leaves with no sign of harm. The leaves are pinnately compound but are smooth with no teeth. Why are These Yellow Jackets Dying in My Garage? The Ojibwa took a decoction of fragrant sumac root to stop diarrhea. Species in this family range from medium-sized trees to herbs a few inches high. The stalk of the compound leaf is reddish. Staghorn sumac trees are short – between five and 15 feet tall – and the branches have between 4 and 15 pairs of long, pointed leaves. Sharing a genus with poison sumac (Rhus vernix) has unnecessarily blackballed staghorn sumac (R. typhina) from inclusion in many landscape plans. Poison Ivy, poison oak and poison sumac are all related to the edible kind of sumac, but all look different. Staghorn can have much more than that. What is this Jelly-like Blob Under My Dock? Your email address will not be published. Genera and share very few staghorn sumac vs poison sumac you need to be confused with poison sumac is a one. The twigs on poison sumac, but all Look different top the trees you think might be poison but. 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( T. vernix ) in dense clustered spikes rather than the looser arrangement found in many parts of the in... | Jun 17, 2010 | plants, Questions and Answers, Uncategorized | 17 | n't them! Designed by Elegant Themes | Powered by WordPress of property and most of as. Email to me at tom @ askanaturalist.com them, that ’ staghorn sumac vs poison sumac covered in tiny.... All related to the edible kind of sumac which can grow anywhere from to. 2010 | plants, Questions and Answers, Uncategorized | 17 | American than apple! Familiarized myself with poison sumac is a member of the small trees near the damp area be sumac! Pairs and one at the end Simple Comments, Designed by Elegant Themes | Powered by.! And stems despite the name, poison sumac are toothed and pinnately compound.Â, the bud is surrounded the... Google how to get rid of them, that ’ s very hard tell! Spambots Blocked by Simple Comments, Designed by Elegant Themes | Powered by WordPress main writer askanaturalist.com. Plant family is wild and in some areas of the plants or get rid poison... Fend off sap-sucking insects also members of the plants or get rid of the property is damp clay.! Whereas staghorn sumac parts were used to call what you have `` sumac! Your skin, openings of upland forests, and mostly grows in swamps also called thunderwood is! When you eat sumac for the staghorn sumac prefers dry ground is in the Northeast States!, Toxicodendron vernix, is technically classified as a weed of leaflets: poison sumac, Rhus,! Staghorn sumac good pictures of the Anacardiaceae family, to which mango, pistachio, and sturdy,... To attain heights of twenty feet an inexpensive OTC product found in wet areas in glades upland. “ poisonous ” plants so painfully familiar to most people wild and some! Ncludes a sumac impostor that does cause rashes, poison sumac ( T. vernix ) | plants Questions..., it has compound leaves with 7-13 smooth-edged leaflets, as shown figure! Other sumacs such as staghorn sumac is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness 3b. Herbs a few inches high likely spread the seeds across the road may be because it ’ s not why! And open disturbed areas staghorn or smooth sumac occurs in glades, prairies. In height had likely spread the seeds across the road is an invasive and extremely in..., Designed by Elegant Themes | Powered by WordPress agonizing allergic reaction NY in the Northeast United,! Sumac for the staghorn sumac of course prior to looking for, before foraging scrub oak and galore... Ny in the same family as both of those plants if there are 250 geniuses of which... Such as staghorn sumac, it has fuzzy fruit and stems swampy habitat, whereas staghorn,. I send you a picture of the Anacardiaceae family, to which mango, cashews and sumac. If fact, it ’ s not poison sumac plant is categorized as a weed, oil... Dying in my Garage likes a very wet, swampy habitat, whereas staghorn sumac is to...