Rhus (Toxicodendron) radicans
(Poison Oak)
[L., Kuntze]

Subclass: Rosidae
Order: Sapindales
Family: Anacardiaceae
Family Description: Sumac

Key Characteristics:
shrub to 2 M tall, usually single-stemmed < that 1 M tall; (In eastern U. S. can be a vine or an herb)
leaves
flowers
fruit
  • compound, trifoliate
  • arise from tip of woody stem
  • in dense, axillary clusters at terminus of stems
  • greenish-white
  • not showy
  • depressed globose
  • 5-6 mm in diameter
  • as the ridged-grooved appearance of a tiny green pumpkin
leaflets
  • Acute or acuminate
  • 4-10 cm long
  • entire to coarsely toothed
  • glabrous

General Description:
Looks like a shrub. It grows to 2 M tall. It usually is single-stemmed less than 1 M hieght. In the eastern U. S. can be seen as a vine or an herb.

Distribution:
East side of Cascades, eastern Washington, east to Atlantic coast south to Florida and west & south to Mexico.

Habitat:
In cracks in basalt, sometimes near streams thus riparian
Can grow with cactus or hardstem bulrush, thus in various habitats

Other:
All parts of this plant can cause dermatitis in anyone susceptible causes skin blisters, itching, sometimes pain when in contact with skin

Important State References:
No information available at this time
Photos and Information written by Dr. Karl Holte, 2002