Common Names

The poison sumach is also well known as the swamp-sumac. It is erroneously called poison elder and poison dogwood.


The poison sumach is a shrub or small tree from six to twenty feet high with long pinnate leaves bearing seven to thirteen leaflets. The leaflets are about two to four inches long and from one to one and a half inches wide, green on both sides, with reddish stalks and midribs. The margins are entire. The flowers are small, green, in long, loose, open, slender panicles. The fruit is smooth, round, greenish or dun coloured. The shrub is very attractive in the autumn, when the leaves change to very brilliant shades of scarlet and orange. The flowers are out in June.

The harmless sumacs may be very readily distinguished by their red fruits.


It is a native of Canada, and is found on low wet ground and in swamps, in Ontario.

Poisonous Properties

Similar to the poison-ivy, but even more dangerous. Fortunately this species is not very common in Canada.