Plant Guide > Trees > Sumachs and Smoke Tree > Poison Sumach Tree

Poison Sumach Tree

Poison Sumach TreeThe Poison Sumach (Rhus Vernix, Linn.), "one of the most beautiful, but unfortunately the most poisonous of the sumachs," ranges from New England to Minnesota, south to Georgia, and across to Texas.

It is more to be dreaded than the poison ivy, or the poisonwood of Florida, both of which are near relatives. Though widely distributed, it always grows in swampy land, and as its leaves and flowers proclaim it a sumach, people ought to learn to suspect it because of its habitat.

Only redfruited sumachs are safe to touch. This species has greyish-white berries. The clusters droop; in harmless sumachs they stand erect.

White berries in drooping clusters in swampy ground warn the collector to pass the poison sumach by, no matter how alluring its brilliant foliage There is certain poisoning for those who are rash enough to touch it.