Strausbaugh, Perry D. Department of Botany, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia.
Core, Earl L. Department of Biology, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia.
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The plant Toxicodendron vernix (previously in the genus Rhus), which is a member of the sumac family (Anacardiaceae). Poison sumac (see illustration) is an inhabitant of swamps ranging from Quebec to Minnesota, and southward to Florida, Louisiana, and Texas. It is a tall bush or small tree that bears pinnately compound leaves with 7–13 entire (without marginal teeth) leaflets, and drooping, axillary clusters of persisting white fruits that produce an irritating oil. Like poison ivy, the poison sumac plant is poisonous to touch, causing a severe inflammation of the skin, or dermatitis, in many persons. The presence of white fruit separates this species from the nonpoisonous sumacs, which have red fruits. See also: Allergy; Dermatitis; Poison ivy; Poisonous plants; Sapindales
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