Ask a Question forum: Is this plant dangerous?

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Philadelphia
Region: Pennsylvania
Philly
Jun 15, 2017 6:12 PM CST
My neighbor claimed the plant in the attached image is poison sumac. I attempted to look it up online, but would like the opinion of others. Is the plant in this image poison sumac, some other poisonous plant, or nothing to worry about?
Thumb of 2017-06-16/visitor/aa707c
Thumb of 2017-06-16/visitor/8f4694

Name: Lin
Florida Zone 9b, 10a

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plantladylin
Jun 15, 2017 6:22 PM CST
It does look like a Rhus species (Sumac) which have toxic qualities. A few that are found in Pennsylvania:
Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina)
Winged Sumac (Rhus copallina)
Smooth Sumac (Rhus glabra)
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Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
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porkpal
Jun 15, 2017 6:48 PM CST
Looks as if it could be potentially quite pretty.
Porkpal
Name: Lin
Florida Zone 9b, 10a

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plantladylin
Jun 15, 2017 7:35 PM CST
I think Rhus is quite pretty and shouldn't be a problem as long as you don't allow children or pets to taste it. We have a nice Winged Sumac (Rhus copallina) growing in our yard.
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Name: Bob
Vernon N.J. (Zone 6a)
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NJBob
Jun 15, 2017 7:43 PM CST
Looks more like Staghorn to me. Poison sumac usually grows in very wet locations like wetlands or swamps. If it develops berries Staghorn are red, Poison are white to cream colored. Another way to tell is Poison have smooth to wavy edge of leaves where Staghorn has a toothed jagged edge to the leaves.
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
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Paul2032
Jun 15, 2017 7:49 PM CST
Looks like Ailanthus to me. Also known as Tree of Heaven.
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
[Last edited by Paul2032 - Jun 15, 2017 7:51 PM (+)]
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Name: Lin
Florida Zone 9b, 10a

Region: United States of America Deer Region: Florida Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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plantladylin
Jun 15, 2017 7:55 PM CST
I didn't even think of Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima) which is also a possibility and invasive in Pa. as it is in many areas: http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/cs...
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Jun 15, 2017 8:12 PM CST
I thought of Ailanthus too. The leaflets on Ailanthus have an extra little tooth at the stem end that this tree doesn't seem to have or at least I can't see that it does.
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Jun 16, 2017 10:08 AM CST
Welcome! Philly. Ailanthus should have two glands at the base of the leaflets, can you check for that? As in these pictures:

https://www.google.ca/search?q...
Name: Jude
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Zone 6a)
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obliqua
Jun 16, 2017 10:33 AM CST


Looks like ailanthus altisima, (tree of heaven) which is very common in Pennsylvania. It is in bloom in Pittsburgh now, the odor is pungent. This plant is not poisonous but it has acquired the harsh nicknames of "ghetto palm", "stink tree", and "tree of Hell".

If you do not want a lot of grief, remove this tree now, it grows to 50 feet and the wood is weak and usually infested with insects, that help to weaken it. It produces loads of suckers and seeds and seem to seed anywhere they land. I have seen them growing out of chimneys and rain gutters.
Philadelphia
Region: Pennsylvania
Philly
Jun 20, 2017 7:50 AM CST
Thanks for the responses everyone. I can take some more detailed photos when I am home from work. Last time I looked there were no type of berries present, but I will check for that, the glands, and the edges of the leaves. Cheers

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