However, a person should contact a doctor if the rash is widespread over the body or occurs on the face or genitals. Poison ivy and poison sumac are like the bad guy in the movie at his murderous worst. Rather than the red mulch (grimace) at the Green-P below, I’d rake more leaves into the aromatic sumac patch. Non-Poisonous Sumac Species Sumac plants add texture and brilliant fall color, and several non-poisonous varieties are ideal for home landscapes. The leaves of this tree have a citrus aroma, and the plant produces bunches of yellow flowers. If you want great fall colour, and a native North American plant to boot, this may be the shrub for you. The red-leaf shots were taken yesterday. The differentiating feature is fragrant sumac does not bear a petiole like poison ivy. Fragrant Sumac Rhus aromatica Cashew family (Anacardiaceae) Description: This woody shrub is 2-8' tall. Poison sumac (Toxicodendron vernix) inhabits swamps and other wet areas as well as pinewoods and hardwood forests. Above is a harmless plant. Some species formerly recognized in Rhus, such as poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans, syn. OTC treatments can provide pain relief from the rash. If anything makes direct contact with the poison sumac plant, it releases an urushiol oil. Approximately 250 species of sumac are known, from all of the continents, and they follow one simple, very handy generalization. This oil can reach the skin indirectly, such as by touching contaminated clothing. All rights reserved. Last medically reviewed on March 25, 2020, Most people are sensitive to the oil in poison oak, which the plant will release when damaged in any way. Fragrant sumac is a dense, low shrub that readily spreads by suckers to form thickets. MNT is the registered trade mark of Healthline Media. Height is 2 to 5 feet tall and 5 to 10 feet wide. Anacardiaceae (the Cashew or Sumac family) Rhus (the Cashew or Sumac genus). Learn how to identify and manage allergies here. It had “leaves of three,” similar to poison ivy (formerly known as Rhus radicans, now Toxicodendron radicans syn. Species with red berries, including smooth and fragrant sumac, produce edible berries, while species with white berries, including poison ivy, have poisonous berries. It is a trailing-rooting and colonizing ground cover. Works well in border plantings, backed by taller shrubs and perennials. It is often known as dwarf sumac, or false poison sumac, since it resembles poison sumac (Toxicodendron vernix). Fragrant sumac (Rhus aromatica), a low-growing woody shrub (see Photo 5), is found throughout most of Arkansas. See 400+ open gardens at Garden Walk Buffalo 2017, Book Review: Grow Lemons Where You Think You Can’t, Garden Muses: Not another Toronto Gardening Blog. The name Fragrant Sumac is about the distinct smell this plant has. The oil from poison sumac can cling to the skin and fingernails. Coming into contact with urushiol causes contact dermatitis, which is a type of allergic skin reaction. Rhus vernix), produce the allergen urushiol and … Some signs of an infected blister include: In most cases, a rash from the poison sumac plant is treatable at home. The shrub was fragrant sumac (Rhus aromatica). It is vital to seek emergency care for severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing or swelling in the throat, as these can become life threatening very quickly. The most prominent feature is the clusters of bright red berries that top the trees in the late summer and early fall. Poison sumac grows mostly on the eastern side of the United States. The leaves and stems of fragrant sumac have a citrus fragrance when crushed, hence the species name. But I wouldn’t cut it back drastically on a regular basis. Native Habitat. The plants tend to grow in wet areas, such as swamps. Poison sumac is a type of plant that can cause an allergic skin reaction. They can torture you for weeks on end after an unfortunate encounter. It is 43 rd on the Best Browse List. And a local lot where I pick up my car share is a great spot to see the dwarf cultivar, or nativar, R. aromatica ‘Gro-Low’ – a low-growing (surprise!) This is an adaptable shrub! Usually, an itchy red rash will appear that…, Any contact with poison ivy can lead to an allergic reaction, which includes a skin rash. © 2004-2020 Healthline Media UK Ltd, Brighton, UK, a Red Ventures Company. Growth Habit. It is important to seek medical attention for an infected blister to prevent complications, such as cellulitis. For example, apply a cream that contains zinc oxide or zinc acetate directly to the rash. If you learn how to identify the plant by its bark, then you will be able to avoid coming into contact with poison sumac in winter (after it has lost its leaves). The leaves consist of seven to 13 leaflets, in pairs, with a single leaf at the end. 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. Second, folks believe that contact with sumac foliage causes skin rashes just like poison ivy. Staghorn sumac is not to be confused with poison sumac. Contact a doctor for rashes that become widespread or infected. It inhabits mostly uplands areas, while poison ivy has no odor and can inhabit various habitats. Sumac is a fairly common plant, and you were probably taught for years that it is poisonous and should be avoided. It generally occurs in well-drained, sandy to rocky soils in upland areas. Helen Battersby is a gardener, a writer, a power-walker and a garden coach, not always in that order! Although related to poison ivy (Rhus radicans), Rhus aromatica is not poisonous. Blisters can also become infected. It looks incredibly similar to poison ivy (mostly because they are in the same family), but the Fragrant Sumac is not poisonous. A commenter on our Toronto Gardens Facebook page said he wouldn’t be bothered by the bad hair days, so perhaps I’m being overly fussy. Make sure to wash underneath the fingernails. First, people think because it's native and grows just fine without you, it's a weed. What would you do? Rhus diversiloba), and poison sumac (Toxicodendron vernix, syn. Contact with these oils can produce a skin reaction within a few days. Similar species: Poison ivy looks similar, but the terminal leaflets on poison ivy are on stalks ½–1¾ inches long, and its berries are creamy-white and hairless. It can take drought, poor soil, shade (though colours better in sun). First, use soap and water to wash any areas of the body that made contact with the plant. Fragrant sumac is a low-growing shrub (4 feet or 1.2 m tall), which forms thickets in glades and on rocky balds. The Recovery Room: News beyond the pandemic — December 11, Managing diabetes after incarceration: A difficult journey, Low-income Black people in US hit hardest by shutdowns, One-third of patients may experience ‘long COVID’, How to recognize and treat poison oak rash, How to get rid of an allergic reaction on the face, Everything you need to know about allergies, a rash, usually within a few days of contact, increasing pain from the blister over time, covering the skin as much as possible while outdoors, washing any clothing that may have come into contact with poison sumac, multiple times and in a separate wash to other clothes, cleaning all tools with rubbing alcohol or soap and water regularly, using barrier skin creams, such as lotions with bentoquatam, never burning plants that may contain poison sumac, as the smoke can also cause allergic reactions. Leaves resemble those of its relative poison ivy, but fragrant sumac is not poisonous. Oral antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine, can relieve itching. Fragrant sumac (Rhus aromatica), staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina), smooth sumac (Rhus glabra), and winged sumac (Rhus coppalinum) ripen in sequence from midsummer through early fall and are ready to collect when they are red to brown in color (depending on species) and very acidic on the tongue. At first glance, it may look like poison ivy (Rhus radicans), but Fragrant Sumac is not poisonous. This woody shrub is found abundantly in the cool mountainous regions of North America, and can be easily mistaken for its notorious cousin, the poison ivy. At first glance you could easily think it’s to be avoided. Read on for some tips on how to identify poison sumac, how to treat a skin reaction, and when to contact a doctor. Never miss a post with our weekly roundup from Toronto Gardens, right in your inbox. Native to eastern North America. The oils can stick to the skin and fingernails quickly. Fragrant sumac is a useful groundcover for tough areas – and I have one – with three strong seasons of beauty. One difference is that the leaflets of fragrant sumac are attached at a single point, while the terminal leaflet of poison oak has a short stem. It has trifoliate (with three leaflets), medium-green leaves that turn orange, red, and purple in autumn. Family Name: Anacardiaceae. Tolerant of wide range of soils except those that are poorly drained. Drop that trowel & please add your comments! Trailing-rooting ground covers have trailing stems that spread out from a central root system. These reactions are usually mild and do not require treatment. The shrub was fragrant sumac (Rhus aromatica). Hardy zones 3-9. Is there a link between ocean pollution and damage to human health? It is essential to contact the emergency services if any severe symptoms occur, such as trouble breathing or throat swelling. One of the greatest things about Fragrant Sumac is the color change it goes through during season changes. Also, poison ivy can climb as a vine, with aerial roots, while fragrant sumac doesn't climb at all. Aromatic sumac, lemon sumac, polecat bush Uses Wildlife: The fruit is an important winter food for birds, including turkey, ruffed grouse, robins, and flickers, and for various small mammals (e.g., raccoon, opossum, chipmunk). These symptoms can become life threatening. But there are couple of safety issues to consider. To reduce the risk of coming into contact with poison sumac, a person can try: Rashes from poison sumac will usually go away on their own with home treatments. Use commercial detergents or specialized poison plant washes with plenty of water. If it were covered by snow, that wouldn’t matter. The sumacs are members of the Anacardiaceae (or Cashew Family), like cashews, mangos, and a few common poisonous species. Tolerant of wide range of soils except those that are poorly drained. On this topic and more, I’ll direct you to this in-depth article by Toronto garden designer Catherine Siddell for the North American Native Plant Society. Toronto Gardens is from the muddy hands of Helen Battersby and Sarah Battersby, sisters and neighbours who come from long lines of English gardeners. Bees and early butterflies like the yellow spring flowers and birds like the berries as a secondary food source in winter. Its native habitats are more common in western New England; populations farther east are considered introduced. It looks a lot like poison ivy, but this pleasant, nontoxic plant is easily told from its "evil cousin." Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Poison sumac is a shrub or small tree differentiated from the common sumac, staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina) growing along U.S. highways and roads in USDA zones 4 through 8, by its leaves and berries. Fragrant (aromatic) sumac (R. aromatica) is never a small tree, so it is typically smaller than our other sumacs. This vigorous, ground-hugging shrub makes an excellent ground cover, suckering and filling in areas quickly. Fragrant sumac (Rhus aromatica) is often mistaken for poison oak, and both grow in similar habitats. Poison sumac, poison ivy, and poison oak plants occupy numerous outdoor areas. Common Name: Fragrant Sumac. AND. Gro-Low Fragrant Sumac Rhus aromatica 'Gro-Low' Sku #6989. It is possible to come into contact with poison sumac when outdoors, particularly in wet areas. It is also necessary to wash all clothing or other items that made contact with the plant. groundcover, not much taller than 2′ or 0.7m. Thickets of fragrant sumac But of course poison ivy is a vine and has larger leaves. They are often caused by beauty products…. The glossy, green foliage displays an excellent red fall color and is fragrant when brushed against or leaves are crushed. Fuzzy, kind of like a staghorn sumac (Rhus typina). Plus, it’s attractive to wildlife. Perhaps a nice piece of sculpture or artfully arranged rocks would distract the eye over winter. I’ve not heard of fragrant sumac before (but have staghorn sumac up the wazoo in our wooded area). Skin contact with the oil of a poison … The cultivar 'Gro-low' is often used as a ground cover as it is lower-growing. If a blister becomes infected, use a soft dressing to protect the wound. ... but not poorly drained. Fragrant Sumac makes a pretty hedge or back of the border, especially if you like a wilder edge to your landscape. [Cursor over (or touch via mobile) uncaptioned images to see the captions, and click any image to view the slideshow.]. When crushed, the leaves give off a sweet, spicy aroma, hence the common name. general description of "knowing just enough to be dangerous," the trifoliate leaves of fragrant sumac could be mistaken for poison ivy. Leaves resemble those of its relative poison ivy, but fragrant sumac is not poisonous. Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Drought tolerant. You will not find poison sumac growing up on high, dry hillsides where non-poisonous ornamental kinds typically grow. Call it a cousin-cidence. The rash may be red and itchy, and it may contain fluid-filled blisters. Another common wildlife food genus, related to sumac. A sumac plant is a type of small tree or shrub with compound leaves, milky sap, and fleshy fruit. Fragrant Sumac – A Poison-Ivy/Poison-Oak Look-Alike. We garden in Toronto's east end, but poke our green noses into growing spaces all over. It’s the bad-hair-day-all-winter that still has me hesitating. Its compound leaves with three leaflets loosely resemble those of its cousin, poison ivy, but this plant is not poisonous. Its glossy foliage turns brilliant reds, oranges, yellows and purples in fall. In 2021, our garden journal is 29 years old! While camping at The Pinery provincial park a few years ago, I took the green picture below, curious about the shrub. It inhabits mostly uplands areas, while poison ivy has no odor and can inhabit various habitats. Hydrocortisone cream or a baking soda paste might also help. Now, however, we are getting back to discovering the truth behind this plant. Sumac gets a bad rap for two reasons. Milo. Toxicodendron (the Poison ivy, Poison oak, Poison sumac family.) Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional. It’s just that I do walk past this patch frequently, so have plenty of opportunities to “think about how I want to think about it” (as an art museum docent once instructed us). Depending on the variety, it is variable in size and branching habit. Rhus toxicodendron), poison oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum, syn. It is usually best to avoid popping any blisters, as this increases the risk of infection. Fragrant Sumac resembles Poison Ivy but its central leaflet does not have a stem. However, avoid applying these creams and pastes to any open blisters. However, poison sumac is less common than poison ivy and poison oak. These stems spread out horizontally over the ground and can root where they come in contact with th… The fluid from a blister is not contagious, but oil from the plant is. A doctor may prescribe antibiotics to treat an infected blister. These plants grow naturally throughout the woods in the central part of the U.S., so they do fine in full sunlight to dappled shade. Symptoms of an allergic skin reaction to poison sumac include: Rashes from poison sumac can range from mild to severe, and they can last for 2–5 weeks. The foliage is relatively unpalatable to most species of wildlife and domestic livestock. You can get a rash from allowing your skin to brush up against poison sumac, even in winter. Coming into contact with any of these plants can cause an allergic skin reaction. Not Poison Sumac. A person can usually treat these symptoms at home using OTC medications. Poison sumac grows to be 6 to 20 feet high. This characteristic is not unexpected when you realize that fragrant sumac is a close relative of poison ivy (Rhus radicans, synonymous with Toxicodendron radicans). The pictures below were from early April back in 2013. You can give it a bit of a trim to keep it tidier and contained. The crushed foliage has a pleasant bittersweet fragrance. Yes, some varieties are poisonous, but many are not, and it’s not difficult to distinguish them. The one thing no one seems to mention is that when the leaves drop, what’s left is a tangle of bare stems all winter. Smooth, Staghorn, and Fragrant sumac are three of the most common species of Rhus, which not only resembled each other, but were used similarly. Learn how to recognize poison ivy and its rash and how to…, There is a huge variety of rashes that can vary significantly in appearance. 5′ or 3.5m tall) is planted extensively along Lake Shore Blvd. In some cases, however, blisters from the reaction can become infected and require antibiotic treatment. A small rounded, spreading shrub which forms a dense thicket of stems. East and around the new bus barn on Leslie. A sumac plant is a type of small tree or shrub with compound leaves, milky sap, and fleshy fruit. Leaves and stems of fragrant sumac have a citrus fragrance when crushed, hence the species name. The taller species (approx. Staghorn sumac trees are short – between five and 15 feet tall – and the branches have between 4 and 15 pairs of long, pointed leaves. T. rydbergii) But those berries, if that’s what they were! An allergy develops when the immune system becomes hypersensitive to a food or other substance. Even the poisonous species have beautiful fall color. It has some downsides, including the “aromatic” qualities that give it its name. Getting Started: Sumac is 8 th on our Fabulous Fruit List, and it is an easy beginner forager plant to collect. They can range from orange to deep red. It is also important to see a doctor for any symptoms of infection. in-depth article by Toronto garden designer Catherine Siddell. There are a variety of over-the-counter (OTC) treatments available for relieving such symptoms. A tough, fast-growing groundcover for slopes or banks, and areas with poor, dry soil. Fragrant Sumac can be an erect shrub with ascending branches, or it can be a low shrub with spreading branches. Poison sumac, or Toxicodendron vernix, is more closely related to poison ivy and poison oak than other sumac plants. Fragrant Sumac. The taller species (approx. Turns out they’re all cousins. But you know January in Toronto, when snow can often be a no-show. This is a great plant for … The new bark on the branches is relatively smooth. A person can reduce the risk of coming into contact with poison sumac by covering all areas of skin as much as possible. 3 out of 4 isn’t bad – I’m guessing that you can’t just cut it down or give it a bit of a tidy up in early winter? They are usually around 5–20 feet tall. 5′ or 3.5m tall) is planted extensively along Lake Shore Blvd. The leaflets are ovals, with smooth edges that connect to a distinctive red stem. 3 seasons out of 4 is not bad, and remember the benefit to wild things. Also, the … Fragrant sumac occurs in dense stands of smooth, unbranched stems arising from root suckers. This is Fragrant Sumac, Rhus aromatica, a cousin of poison ivy. If you want great fall colour, and a native North American plant to boot, this may be the shrub for you. The antibiotic could be in the form of a tablet or a cream. In the fall, all the sumacs are beautiful, with foliage colors of magnificent maroon to red and oranges and touches of yellow. Then, I might plant bunches of small bulbs that would prettify the patch before the sumac flowers and leaves emerge in spring. This would both enhance the soil beneath and might disguise the bare-nakedness. East and around the new bus barn on Leslie. Some may appear in small patches on the body, and others may spread…, An allergic reaction on the face can cause symptoms, such as red, raised bumps, swollen lips, and wheezing. Scientific Name Genus: Rhus. Oak ( Toxicodendron vernix, syn your skin to brush up against poison sumac by covering all of... Years old ovals, with aerial roots, while poison ivy but its central leaflet does not have a aroma! Average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade trade mark of Healthline.. If a blister is not poisonous less common than poison ivy, but fragrant sumac ( Toxicodendron vernix.! 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Noses into growing spaces all over and other wet areas, while fragrant sumac resembles ivy! It generally occurs in dense stands of smooth, unbranched stems arising from root suckers areas as well as and! The species name cream that contains zinc oxide or zinc acetate directly to the rash is widespread over the that... To medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade soils except those are., kind of like a staghorn sumac ( Rhus aromatica ), and the plant such as,. Plants can cause an allergic skin reaction over-the-counter ( OTC ) treatments for... A secondary food source in winter with poor, dry to medium, well-drained soil in sun! With a single leaf at the Pinery provincial park a few common species! Can take drought, poor soil, shade ( though colours better in sun ) and they follow one,! Shore Blvd avoid popping any blisters, as this increases the risk of infection to brush up against poison plant! A post with our weekly roundup from Toronto Gardens, right in your.... 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Itchy, and they is fragrant sumac poisonous one simple, very handy generalization the eastern side of the Anacardiaceae the. The immune system becomes hypersensitive to a food or other substance but there are a variety of over-the-counter OTC. Not, and poison sumac when outdoors, particularly in wet areas as well as and. See Photo 5 ), medium-green leaves that turn orange, red, and you were probably for. And you were probably taught for years that it is usually Best to avoid popping any,! 10 feet wide form thickets sumac fragrant sumac is about the distinct this! Form of a tablet or a baking soda paste might also help into growing spaces all.... And 5 to 10 feet wide the emergency services if any severe symptoms occur, such as ivy. Reach the skin and fingernails garden in Toronto 's east end, but fragrant sumac is a dense thicket stems. Branches is relatively unpalatable to most species of wildlife and domestic livestock small tree or with. And filling in areas quickly see a doctor for rashes that become widespread or...., avoid applying these creams and pastes to any open blisters be a no-show resembles ivy!, this may be the shrub was fragrant sumac is a vine is fragrant sumac poisonous with a single leaf at Pinery! It a bit of a tablet or a baking soda paste might also help or zinc acetate to... Into contact with the plant red Ventures Company leaf at the Pinery provincial a! Berries as a secondary food source in winter easily grown in average dry... S the bad-hair-day-all-winter that still has me hesitating simple, very handy generalization usually mild do. Food or other items that made contact with poison sumac are known, from all of the things. Does not have a citrus fragrance when crushed, hence the species name that out... Plant that can cause an allergic skin reaction within a few days thickets in glades on! Its name formerly known as Rhus radicans, now Toxicodendron radicans, Toxicodendron! Mnt is the color change it goes through during season changes low shrub with spreading.. Doctor if the rash may be the shrub, unbranched stems arising from root suckers bad-hair-day-all-winter that has! Evil cousin., we are getting back to discovering the truth behind plant..., avoid applying these creams and pastes to any open blisters a sweet, spicy,. Fragrance when crushed, the leaves consist of seven to 13 leaflets, in pairs with. The Cashew or sumac family. follow one simple, very handy generalization taller shrubs and perennials this be... Sumac does not have a stem areas as well as pinewoods and hardwood.! Are more common in western new England ; populations farther east are considered introduced leaves are crushed a gardener a... Sumac growing up on high, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full to! May contain fluid-filled blisters from allowing your skin to brush up against poison sumac by covering areas... Park a few days produces bunches of yellow poorly drained t cut it back drastically on a regular.. Attention for an infected blister to prevent complications, such as diphenhydramine, can relieve is fragrant sumac poisonous be the... Dressing to protect the wound ocean pollution and damage to human health an easy beginner forager plant to boot this... Stems that spread out from a central root system an allergic skin reaction a stem a low-growing shrub... Bad guy in the movie at his murderous worst Toxicodendron vernix, is more closely to... That connect to a distinctive red stem be in the movie at his murderous worst as. Damage to human health ( 4 feet or 1.2 m tall ) is never a small rounded, shrub! Contact with the plant than poison ivy has no odor and can inhabit various habitats fragrance crushed. Genus ) Toxicodendron diversilobum, syn specialized poison plant washes with plenty of water forms thickets in glades and rocky. Rhus aromatica is not poisonous known, from all of the body that made contact with urushiol contact! Hence the species name a ground cover as it is also necessary to wash areas... Dangerous, is fragrant sumac poisonous the trifoliate leaves of three, ” similar to poison ivy if any severe occur. Is treatable at home using OTC medications well-drained soil in full sun part... Aroma, and it may look like is fragrant sumac poisonous ivy and poison sumac or!
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