Poison Sumac How to Identify the Plants and Treat Exposure

Touching the plant can cause a painful, irritating rash that can blister and last for weeks. Once the oil is on your clothes or skin, it can spread to other parts of your body, clothing, furniture, people, or animals that you come in contact with.


This plant can take on a small tree or shrub-like growth habit and grows anywhere from five to 20 feet tall when mature. It has an open, sparse growth habit.

It normally takes anywhere from 12-48 hours for the symptoms to appear, so you might not know that you’ve been exposed right away. The majority of people won’t react after their first exposure. It takes more than one to see symptoms.

toxic compounds

Poison sumac contains urushiol (you-ROO-she-all). This is the same compound found in poison ivy, poisonwood, and poison oak.

If you are exposed to poison sumac, wash the area and all of your clothes as quickly as possible. Only the area that actually touched the plant will be contaminated. The oil doesn’t spread unless you manually move it by rubbing it.


Ash trees (Fraxinus spp.) is a tree that can resemble poison sumac.

Don’t ever put poison sumac into your burn piles