Poison Sumac Toxicodendron vernix
Family: Anacardiaceae (Cashew)
Branching: Alternate
Other names: Rhus vernix

This and Poison Ivy are the two eastern species of poisonous sumac.  However, Poison Sumac is not nearly as common, and despite its relatively wide range, it's fairly rare throughout the area.  In the summer, it really looks like a cross between Staghorn/Smooth Sumac and Poison Ivy, with the compound leaves of the former, and similar leaflets of the latter.  Poison Sumac tends to grow alone and almost always in very wet areas.  For these reasons, it's not encountered that often.  These pictures are from late in the fall, and many of the leaf stems haven't fallen yet.

Poison Sumac buds

Another view of the Poison Sumac bud.  The leaf scars are similar to Poison Ivy (and thinner than the other sumacs) but the bud doesn't appear as hairy as Poison Ivy

Winter twig of Poison Sumac; typically much stouter than Poison Ivy, and more similar to the other sumacs

Another view of the end bud and leaf scar

Young bark

Older bark

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copyright 2008 Josh Sayers
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