Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V26, Page 70 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SUMACH. The Sumach of commerce is the finely ground leaves of Rhus coriaria, a native of the North Mediterranean region from Portugal to Asia Minor; it is a shrub or low tree with hairy leaves composed of I r to 15 elliptical leaflets with large blunt teeth, and large loose panicles of whitish-green flowers. Another species, Rhus cotinus, known as Venetian Sumach, also a native of southern Europe and Asia Minor, yields the yellow dye-wood known as young fustic; it is also known as the Smoke-plant or Wig-tree, from the feathery or hairy appearance of the flower-stalks, which become elongated and hairy after the flowering. The genus Rhus is a member of the' natural order Anacardiaceae and contains about 120 species of trees or shrubs mostly native in the temperature regions of both hemispheres. The leaves are alternate and simple or compound, with few to many entire-margined or serrated leaflets, and terminal or axillary panicles of small flowers with parts in fours or sixes. The species are mostly poisonous, some being especially noxious. Such' are Rhus toxicodendron, the North American poison ivy, a shrub climbing on rocks and trees by means of rootlets, and poisonous to the touch. R. venenata, the North American poison elder sumach or dogwood, also contains an erttretnely irritant poison. R. vermicifera is the japan lacquer or varnish-tree. Several species are cultivated in the British Isles as store, greenhouse or hardy trees.
End of Article: SUMACH

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