Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac Information Center

Is This Poison Ivy?

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Submitted by:  Daisy
Date Submitted: 6/18/2003
Location: Luther, OK

Question Asked: Is this Poison Sumac? It is all over our 10 acres in Luther, OK (30 mi. NE of OKC) I've been told by locals that the "flower" is where the bad stuff is. After reading your site, I know that's not true. However, I don't know if this is poison variety or not. Is it?

Answer: Hi Daisy -

The plant you took a picture of looks like smooth sumac (Rhus glabra), a common shrub throughout the US. The key characteristics which differentiate smooth sumac from poison sumac are:

  • toothed leaflet margins (toothed edges of leaflets)
  • Red fruit
  • Fruit on spikes

Poison sumac bears fruit at the point where the leaf joins the stem (axial). The fruit also is whitish - greenish (the old adage is "berries of white, take flight").

The sumac plants produce a berry that is eaten by a number of birds and animals and has other beneficial properties.