It is possible to come into contact with poison sumac when outdoors, particularly in wet areas. A person can usually treat these symptoms at home using OTC medications. © 2004-2020 Healthline Media UK Ltd, Brighton, UK, a Red Ventures Company. Milo. Height is 2 to 5 feet tall and 5 to 10 feet wide. The rash may be red and itchy, and it may contain fluid-filled blisters. The red-leaf shots were taken yesterday. 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. For example, apply a cream that contains zinc oxide or zinc acetate directly to the rash. At first glance, it may look like poison ivy (Rhus radicans), but Fragrant Sumac is not poisonous. Tolerant of wide range of soils except those that are poorly drained. Bees and early butterflies like the yellow spring flowers and birds like the berries as a secondary food source in winter. MNT is the registered trade mark of Healthline Media. 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? I’ve not heard of fragrant sumac before (but have staghorn sumac up the wazoo in our wooded area). While camping at The Pinery provincial park a few years ago, I took the green picture below, curious about the shrub. The name Fragrant Sumac is about the distinct smell this plant has. If it were covered by snow, that wouldn’t matter. 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). Its glossy foliage turns brilliant reds, oranges, yellows and purples in fall. But there are couple of safety issues to consider. 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. Approximately 250 species of sumac are known, from all of the continents, and they follow one simple, very handy generalization. Native Habitat. The shrub was fragrant sumac (Rhus aromatica). The differentiating feature is fragrant sumac does not bear a petiole like poison ivy. The taller species (approx. Common Name: Fragrant Sumac. Contact with these oils can produce a skin reaction within a few days. Skin contact with the oil of a poison … Poison ivy and poison sumac are like the bad guy in the movie at his murderous worst. Never miss a post with our weekly roundup from Toronto Gardens, right in your inbox. ... 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. Call it a cousin-cidence. Rhus diversiloba), and poison sumac (Toxicodendron vernix, syn. Trailing-rooting ground covers have trailing stems that spread out from a central root system. 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!) Poison sumac grows to be 6 to 20 feet high. A sumac plant is a type of small tree or shrub with compound leaves, milky sap, and fleshy fruit. Poison sumac grows mostly on the eastern side of the United States. It inhabits mostly uplands areas, while poison ivy has no odor and can inhabit various habitats. Also, the … 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. OTC treatments can provide pain relief from the rash. in-depth article by Toronto garden designer Catherine Siddell. 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. 3 seasons out of 4 is not bad, and remember the benefit to wild things. This is a great plant for … The leaves of this tree have a citrus aroma, and the plant produces bunches of yellow flowers. Rather than the red mulch (grimace) at the Green-P below, I’d rake more leaves into the aromatic sumac patch. Coming into contact with any of these plants can cause an allergic skin reaction. groundcover, not much taller than 2′ or 0.7m. Fragrant (aromatic) sumac (R. aromatica) is never a small tree, so it is typically smaller than our other sumacs. 5′ or 3.5m tall) is planted extensively along Lake Shore Blvd. They are usually around 5–20 feet tall. Species with red berries, including smooth and fragrant sumac, produce edible berries, while species with white berries, including poison ivy, have poisonous berries. Poison sumac (Toxicodendron vernix) inhabits swamps and other wet areas as well as pinewoods and hardwood forests. But I wouldn’t cut it back drastically on a regular basis. However, a person should contact a doctor if the rash is widespread over the body or occurs on the face or genitals. The pictures below were from early April back in 2013. Its compound leaves with three leaflets loosely resemble those of its cousin, poison ivy, but this plant is not poisonous. We garden in Toronto's east end, but poke our green noses into growing spaces all over. Poison sumac, or Toxicodendron vernix, is more closely related to poison ivy and poison oak than other sumac plants. Learn how to identify and manage allergies here. What would you do? Hardy zones 3-9. Fragrant Sumac resembles Poison Ivy but its central leaflet does not have a stem. It looks a lot like poison ivy, but this pleasant, nontoxic plant is easily told from its "evil cousin." 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). Fuzzy, kind of like a staghorn sumac (Rhus typina). Helen Battersby is a gardener, a writer, a power-walker and a garden coach, not always in that order! 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. It is also important to see a doctor for any symptoms of infection. Yes, some varieties are poisonous, but many are not, and it’s not difficult to distinguish them. Also, poison ivy can climb as a vine, with aerial roots, while fragrant sumac doesn't climb at all. At first glance you could easily think it’s to be avoided. However, avoid applying these creams and pastes to any open blisters. Turns out they’re all cousins. 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. Some species formerly recognized in Rhus, such as poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans, syn. 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. Fragrant sumac is a low-growing shrub (4 feet or 1.2 m tall), which forms thickets in glades and on rocky balds. The leaves consist of seven to 13 leaflets, in pairs, with a single leaf at the end. If you want great fall colour, and a native North American plant to boot, this may be the shrub for you. In some cases, however, blisters from the reaction can become infected and require antibiotic treatment. Thickets of fragrant sumac Fragrant Sumac can be an erect shrub with ascending branches, or it can be a low shrub with spreading branches. Fragrant Sumac Rhus aromatica Cashew family (Anacardiaceae) Description: This woody shrub is 2-8' tall. Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Family Name: Anacardiaceae. It looks incredibly similar to poison ivy (mostly because they are in the same family), but the Fragrant Sumac is not poisonous. Scientific Name Genus: Rhus. They can torture you for weeks on end after an unfortunate encounter. They can range from orange to deep red. Depending on the variety, it is variable in size and branching habit. A sumac plant is a type of small tree or shrub with compound leaves, milky sap, and fleshy fruit. Works well in border plantings, backed by taller shrubs and perennials. 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. If a blister becomes infected, use a soft dressing to protect the wound. You can get a rash from allowing your skin to brush up against poison sumac, even in winter. AND. Drought tolerant. Staghorn sumac is not to be confused with poison sumac. The crushed foliage has a pleasant bittersweet fragrance. Coming into contact with urushiol causes contact dermatitis, which is a type of allergic skin reaction. It is important to seek medical attention for an infected blister to prevent complications, such as cellulitis. This vigorous, ground-hugging shrub makes an excellent ground cover, suckering and filling in areas quickly. First, people think because it's native and grows just fine without you, it's a weed. Make sure to wash underneath the fingernails. 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. This would both enhance the soil beneath and might disguise the bare-nakedness. Staghorn sumac trees are short – between five and 15 feet tall – and the branches have between 4 and 15 pairs of long, pointed leaves. 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. This characteristic is not unexpected when you realize that fragrant sumac is a close relative of poison ivy (Rhus radicans, synonymous with Toxicodendron radicans). Drop that trowel & please add your comments! This is an adaptable shrub! An allergy develops when the immune system becomes hypersensitive to a food or other substance. Its native habitats are more common in western New England; populations farther east are considered introduced. Use commercial detergents or specialized poison plant washes with plenty of water. It is also necessary to wash all clothing or other items that made contact with the plant. Leaves resemble those of its relative poison ivy, but fragrant sumac is not poisonous. The oil from poison sumac can cling to the skin and fingernails. It’s the bad-hair-day-all-winter that still has me hesitating. East and around the new bus barn on Leslie. It has some downsides, including the “aromatic” qualities that give it its name. 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). It is usually best to avoid popping any blisters, as this increases the risk of infection. The glossy, green foliage displays an excellent red fall color and is fragrant when brushed against or leaves are crushed. Second, folks believe that contact with sumac foliage causes skin rashes just like poison ivy. It inhabits mostly uplands areas, while poison ivy has no odor and can inhabit various habitats. Fragrant sumac (Rhus aromatica), a low-growing woody shrub (see Photo 5), is found throughout most of Arkansas. Leaves resemble those of its relative poison ivy, but fragrant sumac is not poisonous. Oral antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine, can relieve itching. Fragrant sumac is a useful groundcover for tough areas – and I have one – with three strong seasons of beauty. Another common wildlife food genus, related to sumac. These reactions are usually mild and do not require treatment. 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. Fragrant sumac is a dense, low shrub that readily spreads by suckers to form thickets. It generally occurs in well-drained, sandy to rocky soils in upland areas. Although related to poison ivy (Rhus radicans), Rhus aromatica is not poisonous. The leaflets are ovals, with smooth edges that connect to a distinctive red stem. 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. T. rydbergii) But those berries, if that’s what they were! The cultivar 'Gro-low' is often used as a ground cover as it is lower-growing. Fragrant Sumac – A Poison-Ivy/Poison-Oak Look-Alike. Getting Started: Sumac is 8 th on our Fabulous Fruit List, and it is an easy beginner forager plant to collect. Sumac is a fairly common plant, and you were probably taught for years that it is poisonous and should be avoided. Contact a doctor for rashes that become widespread or infected. In 2021, our garden journal is 29 years old! However, poison sumac is less common than poison ivy and poison oak. 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. Growth Habit. It can take drought, poor soil, shade (though colours better in sun). Fragrant Sumac. Anacardiaceae (the Cashew or Sumac family) Rhus (the Cashew or Sumac genus). It is 43 rd on the Best Browse List. general description of "knowing just enough to be dangerous," the trifoliate leaves of fragrant sumac could be mistaken for poison ivy. Even the poisonous species have beautiful fall color. 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. Rhus vernix), produce the allergen urushiol and … It is essential to contact the emergency services if any severe symptoms occur, such as trouble breathing or throat swelling. Not Poison Sumac. Non-Poisonous Sumac Species Sumac plants add texture and brilliant fall color, and several non-poisonous varieties are ideal for home landscapes. The plants tend to grow in wet areas, such as swamps. Toronto Gardens is from the muddy hands of Helen Battersby and Sarah Battersby, sisters and neighbours who come from long lines of English gardeners. Gro-Low Fragrant Sumac Rhus aromatica 'Gro-Low' Sku #6989. Fragrant sumac occurs in dense stands of smooth, unbranched stems arising from root suckers. 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. 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. The leaves and stems of fragrant sumac have a citrus fragrance when crushed, hence the species name. The antibiotic could be in the form of a tablet or a cream. These symptoms can become life threatening. Perhaps a nice piece of sculpture or artfully arranged rocks would distract the eye over winter. Fragrant sumac (Rhus aromatica) is often mistaken for poison oak, and both grow in similar habitats. The fluid from a blister is not contagious, but oil from the plant is. The foliage is relatively unpalatable to most species of wildlife and domestic livestock. If anything makes direct contact with the poison sumac plant, it releases an urushiol oil. This is Fragrant Sumac, Rhus aromatica, a cousin of poison ivy. The new bark on the branches is relatively smooth. It had “leaves of three,” similar to poison ivy (formerly known as Rhus radicans, now Toxicodendron radicans syn. In the fall, all the sumacs are beautiful, with foliage colors of magnificent maroon to red and oranges and touches of yellow. It is a trailing-rooting and colonizing ground cover. Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. The most prominent feature is the clusters of bright red berries that top the trees in the late summer and early fall. Plus, it’s attractive to wildlife. Poison sumac, poison ivy, and poison oak plants occupy numerous outdoor areas. Above is a harmless plant. Rhus toxicodendron), poison oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum, syn. The oils can stick to the skin and fingernails quickly. 5′ or 3.5m tall) is planted extensively along Lake Shore Blvd. Some signs of an infected blister include: In most cases, a rash from the poison sumac plant is treatable at home. When crushed, the leaves give off a sweet, spicy aroma, hence the common name. The shrub was fragrant sumac (Rhus aromatica). Is there a link between ocean pollution and damage to human health? Poison sumac is a type of plant that can cause an allergic skin reaction. It is often known as dwarf sumac, or false poison sumac, since it resembles poison sumac (Toxicodendron vernix). 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. Then, I might plant bunches of small bulbs that would prettify the patch before the sumac flowers and leaves emerge in spring. Native to eastern North America. This oil can reach the skin indirectly, such as by touching contaminated clothing. Toxicodendron (the Poison ivy, Poison oak, Poison sumac family.) Smooth, Staghorn, and Fragrant sumac are three of the most common species of Rhus, which not only resembled each other, but were used similarly. You can give it a bit of a trim to keep it tidier and contained. All rights reserved. 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. 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. A doctor may prescribe antibiotics to treat an infected blister. They are often caused by beauty products…. These stems spread out horizontally over the ground and can root where they come in contact with th… The sumacs are members of the Anacardiaceae (or Cashew Family), like cashews, mangos, and a few common poisonous species. Usually, an itchy red rash will appear that…, Any contact with poison ivy can lead to an allergic reaction, which includes a skin rash. If you want great fall colour, and a native North American plant to boot, this may be the shrub for you. Blisters can also become infected. One of the greatest things about Fragrant Sumac is the color change it goes through during season changes. Tolerant of wide range of soils except those that are poorly drained. East and around the new bus barn on Leslie. A small rounded, spreading shrub which forms a dense thicket of stems. The taller species (approx. But you know January in Toronto, when snow can often be a no-show. Read on for some tips on how to identify poison sumac, how to treat a skin reaction, and when to contact a doctor. Sumac gets a bad rap for two reasons. Hydrocortisone cream or a baking soda paste might also help. It has trifoliate (with three leaflets), medium-green leaves that turn orange, red, and purple in autumn. But of course poison ivy is a vine and has larger leaves. A person can reduce the risk of coming into contact with poison sumac by covering all areas of skin as much as possible. You will not find poison sumac growing up on high, dry hillsides where non-poisonous ornamental kinds typically grow. 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. Leaves and stems of fragrant sumac have a citrus fragrance when crushed, hence the species name. First, use soap and water to wash any areas of the body that made contact with the plant. 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From allowing your skin to brush up against poison sumac, Rhus aromatica ), '' the trifoliate leaves fragrant... Lake Shore Blvd shrub which forms thickets in glades and on rocky.... Fruit List, and they follow one simple, very handy generalization vine and has larger leaves the! Toxicodendron diversilobum, syn leaf at the end tree have a citrus fragrance when crushed, hence species... Avoid applying these creams and pastes to any open blisters poisonous species it ’ to! The differentiating feature is fragrant sumac is a useful groundcover for slopes or banks, and poison sumac grows be! A tough, fast-growing groundcover for slopes or banks, and remember the to! Aromatica 'Gro-low ' is often known as dwarf sumac, Rhus aromatica ) you could easily think it s. Thicket of stems link between ocean pollution and damage to human health western new England ; farther! Resembles poison sumac plant is power-walker and a few days that spread out from a blister not! Your landscape ( see Photo 5 ), but this pleasant, nontoxic plant is easily told from its evil... These oils can stick to the skin and fingernails quickly possible to come into contact with any of these can! Of `` knowing just enough to be avoided Toronto 's east end, but fragrant sumac before but. As a ground cover, suckering and filling in areas quickly noses into spaces. And do not require treatment an excellent red fall color and is fragrant sumac Rhus aromatica, a can. Some signs of an infected blister to prevent complications, such as by touching contaminated clothing roots, while ivy. Aerial roots, while poison ivy gardener, a writer, a red Company...