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Poison sumac (Toxicodendron vernix) is a tree commonly found in the eastern and southern parts of the United States. Contact with any part of this plant can cause an allergic reaction to urushiol, the oil found in its leaves. Approximately 85 percent of the population is allergic to urushiol. This allergic reaction generally takes the form of a rash that can last for up to three weeks and will generally go away on its own, but persistent cases may require medical intervention. This plant is considerably more toxic than its cousins, poison ivy and poison oak.

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1. Identifying Poison Sumac

Poison sumac trees and shrubs are distinguished by their reddish stems, and a pattern of seven to 13 leaves on each stem arranged in pairs, with a single leaf the end. The leaves have a velvety texture and start out a bright orange color in early spring, turn glossy dark green in the late spring, and morph to a red-orange in the fall. The tree rarely grows taller than 30 feet and produces small white clusters of berries in the late spring and early summer.

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This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.