Substances & Homeopatic Remedies

Rhus venenata

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Toxicodendron vernix

Etymology

Genus name (Toxicodendron) poison-tree
Species name (vernix):  varnished, for the twigs

Common name:  Poison refers to the skin irritation caused by contact, sumac for the resemblance to Rhus species.

Family

Traditional name

Common name:  poison-dogwood


Poison Weed, Poison Wood, Poison Tree, Swamp or Varnish Sumac, Thunderwood, Poison Dogwood, Ash or Elder
(http://nac.tamu.edu/x075bb/caddo/frameidx.html)

Used parts

Officinal Preparations. Tincture of the bark or leaves; dilutions (Hale MM1, reference works)

Classification

Rhus venenata {Toxicodendron vernix}
     Plantae; Spermatophyta, Angiospermae - Flowering Plants; Dicotyledonae; Rosiflorae / Rosidae; Rutales; Anacardiaceae - Poison Ivy Family

Keywords

Anacardiaceae - Poison Ivy Family

Original proving

toxical provings of Dr. P. B. Hoyt, of Danbury, Conn [see toxicology]

Description of the substance

http://nac.tamu.edu/x075bb/caddo/frameidx.html:

Poison Sumac
(Toxicodendron vernix)
Today scientists divide the poison ivys and the poison oaks into two species each and poison sumac stands alone. Of these, Poison Sumac (Toxicodendron vernix) is the least of our worries in central Texas. It's not found here since it is a water loving swamp tree (dendritic). Growing from 6 to 20 feet in height, the Poison Sumac is found in the east from Quebec to Florida and westward along the coast to far east Texas between Shelby and Hardin counties. It has pinnately compound leaves with from 5 to 13 smooth leaflets per stalk. Like most plants it has many common names. It's also known as Poison Weed, Poison Wood, Poison Tree, Swamp or Varnish Sumac, Thunderwood, Poison Dogwood, Ash or Elder. Linnaeus originally placed this tree in the Rhus family, mistaking it for the Varnish Tree of China. It is also often mistaken for the Smooth Sumac, the Stag Horn Sumac, and our own Flame-Leaf Sumac. Like many of the look-alikes, Poison Sumac has tiny sweet smelling flowers in the spring and is brightly covered with lovely red and yellow leaves in the fall, but remember, only Poison Sumac has cream colored berries.



http://www.geocities.com/RodeoDrive/Mall/4992/poison_sumac.html:
 
Toxicodendron vernix (Rhus vernix, R. venenata)
Range:  Along the north shore of Lake Erie, and from Maine to Minnesota, south to Indiana, Ohio, Florida and Texas in swamps.
Description:  A shrub often branched from the base.  The leaves have 7-13 leaflets, without teeth and smooth.  The flowering stem has green flowers followed by light gray berries.  This is the most poisonous sumac.  All the poison ivy or sumac release a white juice when a leaf or stem is broken.  This juice turns black on exposure to the air and carries in it the poisonous resin toxicodendrol, that causes the skin of a sensitive person to develop allergic symptoms on contact.  Burning poison ivy or sumac leaves, twigs, and roots releases this resin in tiny drops on parts of the ash and dust in the smoke and can still cause severe reactions.  There is no cure for the allergic symptoms but there are many treatments.
The result of contact with one of these plants is a red, bumpy skin rash, usually on areas of the body where the skin is thinnest, like the arms, shins and face. There may be swelling near the rash, which usually progresses to itchy blisters that ooze, harden and then crack. The rash may appear as early as a few hours or as late as 2 weeks after exposure. What determines how soon a person reacts after exposure is how sensitive he or she is to the plant and the number of previous times the person has been exposed to it. The rash reaches its peak about 5 days after it begins. The blisters break open, releasing a watery liquid. Healing usually takes 1 to 2 weeks.




Hale MM1 (reference works):
Botanical Description. -  The Rhus Venenata or Poison Sumach  is also known as  Poison - wood, Poison - ash,  and inappropriately as Poison - elder and Poison - dog - wood. This has been compounded with the  Rhus vernix  of Linnaeus, a species which grows in Japan. It is a shrub or small tree, from ten to twenty, and even thirty feet in height, with the trunk from one to five inches in diameter, branching at the top, and covered with a pale - grayish bark, which is reddish on the leaf - stalks and ground - shoots

     "Rhus Venenata grows in low meadows and swamps, from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, flowering from May to August. The milky juice which flows when the plant is wounded, is similar in its action to that of the Rhus toxicodendron, and may, according to Bigelow, be made into a beautiful shining and permanent varnish, by boiling, very analogous to that obtained in Japan from the  Rhus vernix.  It is more poisonous than the R. toxicodendron, and its volatile principle taints the air for some distance around with its pernicious influence, producing in many persons severe swellings of an erysipelatous nature; sometimes the body becomes greatly swollen, and the persons unable to move. Some persons are hardly, or not at all affected, even by handling it. The affection caused by it, generally abates after several days, and may be treated in the same manner as named for the poisonous effects of the Rhus toxicodendron." -  King.


Farrington Materia Medica (Reference Works):
     Rhus venenata, an exceedingly poisonous variety. It has a large blossom of a dark reddish-brown color.  It is a small tree, growing sometimes to the height of ten feet, and very much resembling Ailanthus.



http://www.ibiblio.org/herbmed/eclectic/kings/rhus-toxi.html:
Related Species.-Rhus venenata, De Candolle (R. vernix, Linné), or Poison sumach, also known as Poison wood, Swamp sumach, Poison ash, and inappropriately as Poison elder and Poison dogwood, has been confounded with the Rhus vernix of Linné, a species which grows in Japan. It is a shrub or small tree, 10 to 20, and even 30 feet in height, with the trunk 1 to 5 inches in diameter, branching at the top, and covered with a pale grayish bark, which is reddish on the leaf-stalks and young shoots. Leaves pinnate, with 3 to 6 pairs of opposite leaflets, and an odd terminal one, which are oblong or oval, entire or slightly sinuated, acuminate, smooth, paler underneath, and nearly sessile, except the odd terminal one; they are about 3 inches long, and nearly half as wide. Flowers dioecious and polygamous, very small, green, and in loose, axillary, pedunculate panicles. Panicles of the barren flowers are downy, the largest most branched. Sepals 5, ovate; petals 5, oblong; stamens longer than the petals, and projecting through their interstices; the rudiment of a 3-cleft style in the center. In the fertile flowers the panicles are much smaller, sepals and petals resemble the last, while the center is occupied by an oval ovary, terminated by 3 circular stigmas. Fruit a bunch of dry berries or drupes about the size of peas, smooth, greenish-yellow or greenish-white, sometimes marked with slight purple veins, and becoming wrinkled when old; roundish, a little broadest at the upper end, and compressed, containing 1 white, hard, furrowed seed (L.-G.-W.).
Rhus venenata grows in low meadows and swamps from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, flowering from May to August. The milky juice which flows when the plant is wounded, is similar in its action to that of Rhus Toxicodendron, and may, according to Bigelow, be made into a beautiful, shining and permanent varnish, by boiling, very analogous to that obtained in Japan from the Rhus vernix. It is much more poisonous than Rhus Toxicodendron, and its volatile principle taints the air for some distance around with its pernicious influence, producing in many persons severe swellings of an erysipelatous nature; sometimes the body becomes greatly swollen, and the person unable to move. Some persons are hardly, or not at all, affected even by handling it. The affection caused by it generally abates after several days, and may be treated in the same manner as named for the poisonous effects of the Rhus Toxicodendron.




http://www.hyperdictionary.com/dictionary/poison
From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) [web1913

   {Poison sumac} (Bot.), a poisonous shrub of the genus {Rhus}
      ({R. venenata}); -- also called {poison ash}, {poison dogwood}, and {poison elder}. It has pinnate leaves on graceful and slender common petioles, and usually grows in swampy places. Both this plant and the poison ivy ({Rhus Toxicodendron}) have clusters of smooth greenish white berries, while the red-fruited species of this genus are harmless. The tree ({Rhus vernicifera}) which yields the celebrated Japan lacquer is almost identical with the poison sumac, and is also very poisonous. The juice of the       poison sumac also forms a lacquer similar to that of Japan.


http://www.forestry.auburn.edu/samuelson/dendrology/anacardiaceae_pg/poison_sumac__toxicodendron_vern.htm:
Poison-sumac  Toxicodendron vernix   Anacardiaceae  

Leaves are compound, alternate, and deciduous with 7-13 leaflets, a red rachis and an entire leaf margin.  Leaves turn bright red in the fall. Twigs are stout, brown-gray, and glabrous with shield-shaped leaf scars.  Bark is gray and smooth with prominent lenticels and black patches from exuded sap.  Flowers are yellow-green. Fruit is a white juicy drupe.  Poison-sumac is poisonous and should not be touched.  It is a shrub or small tree up to 30 feet in height that is found in wet areas in the east and central US.  Tolerant of shade.




POISON SUMAC: Still considered one species formally called either Rhus vernix, Rhus venenata, and Rhus glabrum.  Currently all are in the Toxicodendron genus. (Hauser, 1996)


    Over two hundred years ago, Carl Linnaeus placed poison sumac, ivies and oaks in the same category along with the other less toxic members of the Rhus genus (Brooks 2001). This has caused a great deal of confusion over the years.  It was not until mid last century that William T. Gillis, from Michigan State University, proposed that the the toxic varieties containing urushiol be placed within their own genus, Toxicodendron (Hauser 2001).  Despite the fact that the previously used Rhus label is still used from time to time, now the three plants formally identified as Rhus radicans (poison ivy), Rhus toxicodendron (poison oak), and Rhus vernix (poison sumac), are now separated into five Toxicodendron species (Hauser 2001).  

Meanings of names:

Genus name:  poison-tree

Species name:  varnished, for the twigs

Common name:  Poison refers to the skin irritation caused by contact, sumac for the resemblance to Rhus species.

Other names in use:

Common name:  poison-dogwood



Species Distribution

North American Native?  Native

Additional Species Data:

Form:  Tree

Leaf Persistence:  Deciduous

Shade Tolerance:  Intermediate

Sexual expression:  Polygamodioecious

Pollinators:   Insects     

Fruit:  capsule

Mycorrhizae:  VA

Identification:

Leaflets:  False

Leaf Persistence:  Deciduous





Other members of the Anacardiaceae Family
Genus     Species     Common     Note
Anacardium     occidentale     cashew nut     toxic
Cotinus     coggygria     smoke-tree     toxic
Mangifera     indica     mango     toxic
Metopium     toxiferum     poison-wood     toxic
Rhus     glabra     sumac, smooth     weedy
Rhus     typhina     sumac, staghorn     weedy
Schinus     molle     peppertree, California     weedy, toxic
Schinus     terebinthifolius     peppertree, Brazilian     weedy, toxic
Toxicodendron     diversilobum     poison-oak, Pacific     weedy, toxic
Toxicodendron     radicans     poison-ivy     weedy, toxic
Toxicodendron     rydbergii     poison-ivy     weedy, toxic
Toxicodendron     toxicarium     poison-oak     weedy, toxic
Toxicodendron     vernicifluum     varnish tree     toxic
Toxicodendron     vernix     poison-sumac     weedy, toxic
Table 1.  Species List for Family: Anacardiaceae
(Source: University of Idaho)