Toxicodendron radicans  (Rhus r.) poison ivy Anacardiaceae TORA; Bx, bg, br, cf, cm, g, pb, rd, sf, sn, up, vc, wv; NY, bl, ct, hb, iw, tr, wr; Q, a, cu, dp, f, fr, ft, j, rb, ri, rw, tl, u, wl; K, fs, m, p, pl; R, ah, an, ar, bg, bd, bk, bm, c, ca, cg, cl, cs, d, e, ev, fw, b, fk, gb, gr, h, hs, is, jl, js, k, lc, lp, lt, mc, mls, pm, pr, r, ro, sm, sp, sv, t, ty, v, w, wp, x;

Toxicodendron radicans

Toxicodendron radicans (flowers).M B. Gargiullo (ca. 2011).

Toxicodendron radicans is a woody vine climbing to 15 m by aerial roots dark, hairy, twigs speckled with tiny, raised dots (lenticels); older stems thick, hairy, closely adhering to tree trunks, also forms ground cover; by extensive rhizomes, with erect stems about 30 cm tall or more; sap highly irritating (see below); winter buds gray-brown, pointed, naked (no scales), about as wide as twig, leaf scars V to U shaped with a peripheral ring of vein (bundle) scars (Harlow 1946). 

Toxicodendron radicans.Tom Kent.Flora Finder.florafinder.com

Toxicodendron radicans.ground cover.Tom Kent.Flora Finder.florafinder.com (Accessed 3/2017).

Leaves alternate, 3-parted, to 40 cm long, leaflets, elliptic to egg-shaped, tip pointed, base blunt, surface shiny, margins entire to coarsely toothed to occasionally lobed, fall color yellow to red; leaves expand mid-May; winter plant leafless 160 days (Britton 1874). Dioecious. 

Flowers greenish-white, tiny in branched clusters, May (Britton 1874), pollinated by bees that collect nectar (honey made from poison ivy nectar is not toxic); flowers strongly reflect ultraviolet light which attracts insects. Pollinators include; European honey bees (Apis mellifera), Agapostemon virescens (virescent green metallic bee, Halictidae), Augochlora paura (a green metallic bee, Halictidae), Andrena sp. (mining bees, Andrenidae) and Lasioglossum sp. (Milne and Milne 1980; Mulligan and Junkins 1977). 

toxicodendron radicans.John Lynch. Copyright © 2014 New England Wild flower Society.goboatny.newenglandwild.org

Toxicodendron radicans.fruit and autumn leaf color.John Lynch. Copyright © 2014 New England Wild flower Society.gobotany.newenglandwild.org. (Accessed 7/2014).

Fruit gray-white, waxy, 1-seeded; Sept.-Nov. persistent through winter. Seed load 68%. Pulp nutrients: water 4%, lipid 47%, protein 2%, CHO 0% (White 1989). High lipid fruits eaten by many birds that disperse the seeds, esspecially woodpeckers and yellow-rumped warblers, which can assimilate saturated fats. Also used by crows as crop grist, which results in extensive seed dispersal (Place and Stiles 1992; E. Stiles personal communication). Dispersal to and establishment in new sites in successional forest, contiguous with old regrowth stands has been calculated at a rate of 1.64 m/yr (Matlack 1994). 

Wetland status: FAC.

Frequency in NYC:Very common  

Origin: Native.

Toxicodendron radicans.cas vanderbilt.edu

Toxicodendron radicans (aerial roots).Steven J. Baskauf.bioimages.vanderbilt.edu (All Accessed 7/2014).

Habitat: Open woods, disturbed areas, swamp forest edges. Prefers soils high in calcium and magnesium. Tolerates acid soil down to pH 3.8. Found in soil pH 7 (Greller at al. 1990; Gargiullo unpublished data). May form shrub-like habit on beach back dunes. Twigs eaten by deer, muskrats, small rodents and rabbits.

Notes: The irritant in poison ivy sap is composed of four catechols (1, 2 dihydroxybenzenes) with a 15 carbon side chain on carbon number three (Kingsbury 1964; Mulligan and Junkins 1977). Plants remain toxic during winter. Eaten upon by many insects in the orders Hymenoptera (sawflies), Diptera (flies), Coleoptera (beetles), Homoptera (Aphids), Acarina (mites), and Lepidoptera (moths). The most damaging of these may be the larvae of a pyralid moth Epipaschia zelleri. Larvae of moths in this family are often borers or leaf rollers (Covell 1984). Fungi that infect poison ivy include the leaf diseases Cercospora rhoina (Deuteromycotina, Hyphymycetes); Phyllosticta rhoicolaSphaeropsis sumachiCylindrosporium irregulare and C. toxicodendri (Deuteromycotina, Coelomycetes). A rust, Pileolaria brevipes (Basidiomycotina), also infects poison ivy (Mulligan and Junkins 1977; Sinclair et al. 1987; Agrios 1988). Poison ivy is an important ground cover and soil holding species on shady slopes and disturbed woodlands. It provides shelter for birds, small mammals and invertebrates. 

Toxicodendron vernix  (Rhus v.) poison sumac Anacardiaceae TOVE; R;

Toxicodendron vernix.William S. Justice, hosted by the USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

Toxicodendron vernix.© William S. Justice, hosted by the USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database (Accessed 8/2014).

Toxicodendron vernix is a shrub to 5 m tall, often branched from base, bark smooth, gray, young stems with waxy bloom. 

Leaves alternate, leaf axis often red, blade pinnate, 7-13 leaflets, to 5 cm long, oblong to elliptic, pointed at both ends, margin entire; autumn foliage red-orange (like that of poison ivy). 

Flowers small greenish; inflorescence axillary, to 20 cm long; blooms May-July. 

Fruit whitish waxy berries, Aug.-Nov., persisting all winter. Probably eaten by birds, which disperse seeds (see T. radicans). 

Wetland status: OBL.

 Frequency in NYC: Very infrequent. 

Origin: Native. 

Habitat: Swamps, wet woods, mostly southern NJ and south on coastal plain. 

Notes: The irritant sap contains the same toxin as poison ivy (Kingsbury 1964).  

Rhus typhina  (R. hirta) staghorn sumac Anacardiaceae RHTY; Bx, pb, sn, sv (Torrey 2017), vc, wv; NY, ct, hb, wr; Q, a, cu, j, wl; K, do; R, c, ca, gr, e, is, js, sm;

Rhus typhina.commons.wikipedia.org

Rhus typhina.fruit.commons.wikimedia.org (Accessed 2014).

Rhus typhina is a shrub or small tree to 10 m tall, colonial from root sprouts; twigs stout, pith large, yellowish, branches, petioles and leaf midrib very hairy.

Leaves pinnate, leaflets toothed, pale below; autumn color red-orange.

Flowers tiny, greenish, sexes on separate plants (clones), blooms May-July; inflorescence about 15 cm long.

Fruit velvety, red, about 0.2 cm wide, 1-seeded, in a dense, conical head, July-Sept., persistent. Seed load 57%. Pulp nutrients: water 4%, lipid 16%, protein 2%, CHO 3% (White 1989). Available for winter resident birds. Fruit eaten when other food unavailable.

Wetland status: UPL.

Frequency in NYC: Occasional.

Origin: Native.

Habitat: Open areas, woody pioneer, quickly shaded out by taller plants in developing woodlands. Rocky areas, edges, fill, pH 4.5-7.2 (USDA, NRCS 2010). Tolerant of salt, drought. Intolerant of soil compaction, flooding, shade, index 0-2 (Hightshoe 1988).

Notes: Twigs and bark eaten by deer and rabbits (Martin et al 1951). Seed bearing stems have lower rates of vegetative growth than those that do not produce seeds and only stems above a certain size produce fruit in seed-bearing clones. Seed bearing stems also produce more growth of branches than of the main stem (Luken 1987). Clones respond to damage by increased root sprouting (Luken 1990). Not as common on poor soils as R. copallina.

Rhus glabra smooth sumac Anacardiaceae  RHGL; Bx, bz, pb, vc; NY, wr; Q, a, cu, ft, j, wl; K, fl; R, ah, bm, c, cl, cp, cs, d, fk, gb, jl, k, lp, mls, pr, sb, sm, sv, ty;

Rhus glabra.Copyright © 2006 by Robbin Moran.www.plantsystematics.org

Rhus glabra.Copyright © 2006 by Robbin Moran.www.plantsystematics.org (Accessed 7/2014).

Rhus glabra is a shrub or small tree to 6 m tall, colonial from root sprouts, sparsely branched, twigs stout, hairless, new growth pale green to purplish with waxy bloom, older stems tan-brown.

Rhus glabra flowers commons.wikimedia.org (Accessd 5/2017).

Leaves alternate, pinnate, leaflets 11-31, to 10 cm long, pale below, hairless, margin toothed, leaves expand in early May; autumn color red-orange; winter plants leafless180 days (Britton 1874).

Flowers tiny, greenish in dense, branched, pyramid-shaped clusters to 20 cm, at ends of stems, sexes on separate plants (clones), blooms July-Aug. often in fruit when R. copallina is in bloom, visited by bumble bees and honey bees (personal observation).

Rhus glabra (smooth sumac).Richard Barry.8/1/2016

Rhus glabra (smooth sumac).Richard Barry.8/1/2016 (Accessed 8/21/2016).

Fruit velvety, bright red, about 5 mm, 1-seeded, in a dense, conical head, S-O, very persistent. Seed load 48%. Pulp nutrients: water 11%, lipid 13%, protein 2%, CHO 2% (White 1989). Available for winter resident birds. Fruit eaten when other food unavailable.

Wetland status: UPL.

Frequency in NYC: Frequent.

Origin: Native.

Habitat: Open areas, woody pioneer, very shade intolerant. Growth rate 2.97 (relative to 9.24 for B. populifolia and 0.99 for sugar maple). Growth rate was found to correlate well with relative shade tolerance (Grime 1965). Quickly shaded out by taller species in developing woodlands. Rich soils, fill, pH 5.3-7.5 (USDA, NRCS 2010). Tolerant of salt, drought. Intolerant of soil compaction, flooding, shade, index 0-2 (Hightshoe 1988).

Notes: Twigs and bark eaten by deer and rabbits (Martin et al 1951). Not as common on poor soils as R. copallina. May be attacked by Calophya flavida (Homoptera, Psyllidae) sucking insects (plant lice) related to whiteflies and scale. They occasionally bite humans also. The overwintering nymphs are flat, dark, scale-like, with a tiny fringe of white filaments (Johnson and Lyon 1991).

Rhus copallina shining; winged sumac Anacardiaceae RHCO; Bx, cm (planted), pb, g, sn, wv; NY, bl, hb; Q, a, cu, fr, i, j, rb, tl, vb; K, fl, m, pl; R, bk, bm, c, ca, cg, ch, cl, cs, e, fk, gr, hs, jl, js, jw, k, lp, mc, mls, ok, pr, sb, sm, sv, t, ty, v, w, wt, x; 

Rhus copallina.illinoiswildflowers.info

Rhus copallina.John Hilty.www.illinoiswildflowers.info. (Both Accessed 5/2014).

Rhus copallina is a shrub or small tree to 6 m tall; colonial, often forming broad, domed mound-shaped colonies with smaller, younger stems on outer edges, sap milky-sticky, bark gray with darker lenticels, twigs finely hairy (Harlow 1946), stout but more slender than other Rhus sp., pith greenish-white. 

Leaves alternate, pinnate, to 35 cm long, leaflets 11-23, 3-8 cm long, pointed at both ends, entire or with a few teeth, midrib winged, wings to 0.4 cm wide (Yatskievych 2006). Autumn color red. 

Rhus copallinum.en.wikipedia.org

Rhus copallinum.en.wikipedia.org.

Flowers tiny, greenish-white, visited by bumble bees and numerous other insects, sexes on separate plants (clones, dioecious); inflorescence about 15 cm long, terminal, dense; blooms July-Aug. (later than Rglabra). 

Fruit (female plants only) bright red, 1-seeded, velvety to 0.5 cm wide in dense conical heads, Sept.-Oct., very persistent. Seed load 62%. Pulp nutrients: water 26%, lipid 16%, protein 3%, CHO 3% (White 1989). Available for winter resident birds. Fruit eaten when other food unavailable. 

Wetland status: NL. 

Frequency in NYC: Very common. 

Origin: Native. 

Habitat: Open areas in full sun, along roadsides, in nutrient-poor fill, sand, back dune scrubland, landfills, soil pH 5.3-7.5 (USDA, NRCS 2010). Tolerant of salt, drought. Intolerant of soil compaction, flooding, shade, index 0-2 (Hightshoe 1988; Grime 1965). A woody pioneer, quickly shaded out by taller species in developing woodlands. 

Notes: Twigs and bark eaten by deer and rabbits (Martin et al. 1951). The most common of our three Rhus species. Stressed or wounded plants are susceptible to common, opportunistic fungal infections such as die back caused by Botryosphaeria dothidea (Ascomycotina). Sumacs are sometimes infected by a wilt caused by Fusarium oxysporum forma speciales rhois (Deuteromycotina, Hyphomycetes). Infection by Fusarium oxysporum causes leaves and young stems to become flaccid, light green then yellow, then to die. Cross section of infected stems shows a brown ring of infected vascular tissue. Fusarium is a soil dwelling fungus that infects plants through their roots. Roots wounded by parasitic nematodes are particularly susceptible. Sumac also may occasionally be infected by Nectria canker (Nectria galligena, Hypocreaceae; Ascomycotina) with red, bead-like fruiting bodies (Agrios 1988; Sinclair et al. 1987). Sumac is an alternate host to Pulvinaria innumerabilis, the cottony maple scale (Homoptera, Coccidae). 

Rhus aromatica fragrant sumac Anacardiaceae RHAR; Bx, br (planted), pb; NY, ct (planted); Q, a (possibly planted); K, fl (possibly planted); R, h (planted).

Rhus aromatica.commons.wikipedia.org (Accessed 5/2014).

Rhus aromatica.commons.wikipedia.org (Accessed 5/2014).

Rhus aromatica is a shrub to 2 m, often dioecious, densely colonial from root sprouts, twigs hairy when young, fragrant when bruised. 

Leaves alternate, 3-parted, leaflets, toothed, young leaves softly hairy. Autumn color red to orange. 

Flowers pale yellow petals 5, about 0.3 cm long in erect clusters of catkins about 2 cm long, blooms March-April, flower buds form in late summer, pale greenish, to about 0.5 cm long, elliptic, covered by tightly appressed scales (Yatskievych 2006). 

Fruit red, fleshy, hairy, 0.5-0.7 cm wide, ripening Aug., persistent into winter, fruit eaten by numerous birds. 

Wetland status: NL. 

Frequency in NYC: Infrequent. 

Origin: Native, but not seen except in plantings in NYC. 

Habitat: Wooded edges in dry, acid soil (Greller et al. 1991), sometimes planted in restorations. Appears somewhat shade tolerant. 

Notes: twigs eaten by rabbits (Martin et al. 1951).