Poison Sumac

Poison Sumac

Poison sumac, a type of toxicodendron, is a plant that can be poisonous when ingested. Its other names include Staghorn sumac, swamp sumac, and thunderwood. Toxicodendron vernix was previously called Rhus vernix.

Toxicodendron vernix

Toxicodendron vernix is a shrub in the Anacardiaceae family that is native to the contiguous United States and Canada. This poisonous shrub has a distinctive, oily sap that causes rashes, blisters, and itching in exposed areas. When ingested, it produces a toxic smoke that can be very dangerous.

Smooth sumac

The smooth sumac plant grows to a height of three to five meters. Its leaves are seven to nine centimeters long and alternate along the stems. Each leaflet has eleven to thirty points and is toothed at the margin. The upper surface of the leaves is glossy dark green. The flowers of this plant bloom in clusters during the month of May. The fruits of this plant are round, 3.5-4.5 millimeters in diameter, and ripen in August.

Staghorn sumac

Staghorn poison sumac, or vinegar sumac, is an aggressive, fast-growing tree with fuzzy, red fruit clusters. It is found throughout the eastern United States and parts of Europe. The tree thrives in slightly acidic soil and prefers open, grassy areas and fence rows. The plant can grow up to seven metres tall and 25 feet wide.


Poison sumac contains a substance called urushiol. It is present in all parts of the plant, even after it dies. It is rapidly absorbed into the skin, where it can be harmful. If a person touches a plant that contains urushiol, they are at risk of acquiring an allergic reaction. The rash will develop within a few hours after contact.

Pinnate leaves

When you work around poison sumac, it's important to wear protective clothing to avoid contact with the irritant. This includes long sleeves, long pants, rubber gloves and boots. When you're done, rinse off your hands and clothing thoroughly with rubbing alcohol. If you're working outside, it's also a good idea to shower immediately afterward.

Rashes caused by poison sumac

Poison sumac rashes are red, raised, and may be pus-filled. These rashes are very painful and should not be scratched. This is because scratching will cause an open blister and bacterial infection. To reduce the pain and speed up the healing process, you can apply a cool compress to the affected area. You can also apply a topical antihistamine.