name this plant - Sumac

Discussion in 'Plant and Tree Identification' started by bonnie lass, Mar 21, 2005.

  1. bonnie lass

    bonnie lass Semper Fi

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    Whenever I mention this plant, it seems like the next word I always hear is "poison!" :eek: While it's true that this member of the Cashew family does have a rather nasty relative, It is unlikely to be encountered by the average person. Regional varieties of this plant can commonly be found all over the United States, while the poisonous type can only be found by wading through a swamp. Stay away from it if you see it. It contains the same compound found in poison ivy, urushiol, but is much more virulent.The rash can last for weeks. A sensitive person can get a rash just by being near the plant.The poisonous type has loose, drooping clusters of white berries, while the others have erect clusters of hard, red, hairy berries that make the most delicious pink lemonade. Some people call it "Indian tea". The berry clusters should be collected in late summer. Don't wait too long too collect them, because too much rain can wash all the flavor out. Take several clusters, lightly crush them, and cover with cold water for 10 to 15 minutes. Don't use hot water because it will leach out tannins and make the brew bitter. Strain it through cheesecloth to remove the little hairs, and sweeten to taste. The juice has lots of Vitamin C. The berries were used by Native Americans to treat colds, fever, scurvy, and bed wetting, and they would chew the roots to ease toothache or sore gums. The lemon scented leaves have been smoked to treat asthma. Of 100 medicinal plants tested for antibiotic activity, this one was the most active.
     
  2. bare

    bare Head Muderator

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  3. birdie_poo

    birdie_poo Well-Known Member

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    We have them growing native, here, in San Diego county...the common name is Lemonaide bush.
     
  4. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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  5. bonnie lass

    bonnie lass Semper Fi

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    Sumac it is, you guys are good !!! It just popped up in my yard last year, thanks to the birds, I guess :)
     
  6. shorty'smom

    shorty'smom Well-Known Member

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    We tried sumac "lemonade." It's not bad. We've got Staghorn Sumac and Smooth Sumac here.