Saturday, February 23, 2008

Toxicodendron Vernix, a.k.a. Poison Sumac

Poison Sumac

Poison sumac fascinates me. I have found about half a dozen small specimens back in the marshy portions of our yard, where they are welcome to stay. I’m still on the fence about the large one, however, since it is growing where people or pets on the rear lawn could accidentally come into contact with it. I’ve decided to give it until next winter to decide whether it gets killed or just trimmed. The birds enjoy the berries and during the summer use it as shelter from which to scope out the bird feeders. The foliage in the Autumn was a glorious red.

The picture below shows a cluster of the sumac's dried berries, which still decorate most of the branches. These berry clusters make the plant easy to identify in the winter.

I’ll undoubtedly write more about our toxicodendron conundrum in future posts.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow, you guys sure do have to be aware of the poisonous plants. I feel paranoid when out and about on our farm because of an unfortunate "poison parsnip" incident when we first moved out here. Now I'm constantly scoping for poison sumac and ivy.

So far so good, but I love your info on this stuff. I eagerly read on....