Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Poison Sumac
Toxicodendron vernix

Family: Anacardiaceae (an-a-kard-ee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Toxicodendron (toks-ee-ko-DEN-dron) (Info)
Species: vernix (VER-niks) (Info)

Synonym:Rhus vernix

2 members have or want this plant for trade.


15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

Unknown - Tell us

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade
Partial to Full Shade

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested
Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:
Chartreuse (Yellow-Green)

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer


Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

Click thumbnail
to view:

By MotherNature4
Thumbnail #1 of Toxicodendron vernix by MotherNature4

By MotherNature4
Thumbnail #2 of Toxicodendron vernix by MotherNature4

By nclovingnature
Thumbnail #3 of Toxicodendron vernix by nclovingnature


No positives
No neutrals
2 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative MotherNature4 On Jun 10, 2005, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

As you can see, this is an attractive plant. It is extremely dangerous, though, and no one in their right mind would want it in their garden or would want to propagate it. It does have a place in nature.

These pictures were taken in a state park within easy reach along the roadside . Everyone should learn to recognize this dangerous plant.


Negative Weezingreens On Nov 4, 2002, Weezingreens from Seward, AK (Zone 3b) wrote:

Poison Sumac grows in wet soil and shaded hardwood forests along the Eastern Coastal Plains and the Great Lakes. The foliage is green in summer, but turns red in the fall. The bark is gray mottled with black spots where the sap comes to the surface. If this sticky substance comes in contact with your skin, it can create a painful rash similar to that created by poison ivy, only more intense. Gray white fruit, drupes, appear in late summer. While other mammals feed on the leaves and berries, they are considered toxic to man.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Jacksonville, Illinois
Murfreesboro, North Carolina
Conway, South Carolina
Clear Brook, Virginia

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