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Uses

Toxic parts

There are some suggestions that the sap of this species can cause a skin rash in susceptible people, but this has not been substantiated. See also notes in 'Cultivation Details'.

Edible uses

Notes

Fruit - raw or cooked[1][2][3]. An agreeable acid flavour[4]. The fruit is only 3 - 5mm long with very little flesh, but it is borne on dense panicles and is thus easily harvested[5]. When soaked for 10 - 30 minutes in hot or cold water it makes a very refreshing lemonade-like drink (without any fizz of course)[6][7][8][9][10]. The mixture should not be boiled since this will release tannic acids and make the drink astringent.

Unknown part

Fruit

Material uses

The leaves are rich in tannin[2][11][12], so is the bark[8] and the fruit[12]. The leaves can be collected as they fall in the autumn and used as a brown dye or as a mordant[12][13]. The leaves contain 10 - 25% tannin[13]. Up to 35.8% has been obtained from some plants[14].

An oil is extracted from the seeds[15]. It attains a tallow-like consistency on standing and is used to make candles. These burn brilliantly, though they emit a pungent smoke[15]. The plants extensive root system makes it useful for stabilizing soils. A black dye is obtained from the fruit[8][16]. A resin, 'copal resin', is obtained from the sap of this plant. When dissolved in any volatile liquid, such as oil of turpentine, it makes a beautiful varnish[15]. (Is this a mistaken entry? Perhaps it belongs with one of the toxic species[K]).

Wood - light, soft, coarse grained[11]. It weighs 32lb per cubic foot[17]. Sometimes used for small posts[8].

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

A decoction of the root has been used in the treatment of dysentery[18]. An infusion of the roots has been used in the treatment of VD[16]. A poultice of the root has been applied to sores and skin eruptions[16].

A tea made from the bark has been drunk to stimulate milk flow in nursing mothers. A decoction of the bark has been used as a wash for blisters and sunburn blisters[18][16]. An infusion of the leaves has been used to cleanse and purify skin eruptions[16]. The berries were chewed in the treatment of bed-wetting and mouth sores[18][16].

Some caution is advised in the use of the leaves and stems of this plant, see the notes above on toxicity.

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Hedge


Earth stabiliser

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in hot water (starting at a temperature of 80 - 90c and allowing it to cool) prior to sowing in order to leach out any germination inhibitors[19]. This soak water can be drunk and has a delicious lemon-flavour. The stored seed also needs hot water treatment and can be sown in early spring in a cold frame[19]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.

Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame[19]. Root cuttings 4cm long taken in December and potted up vertically in a greenhouse. Good percentage[20][19].

Suckers in late autumn to winter[19].

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Rhus copallina. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.



Cultivation

Succeeds in a well-drained fertile soil in full sun[21][19]. Tolerates poor soils[12][19]. Established plants are drought resistant[12].

A very hardy species, when fully dormant it can tolerate temperatures down to about -25°c[19]. However, the young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. A very ornamental plant[22]. It is quite fast-growing but short-lived in the wild[5]. In the north of its range plants are dwarf, around 1.2 metres tall, but in the south they can be up to 7 metres tall[23]. Some botanists divide this species into separate species, whilst others see it as a single species with geographical forms. R. copallina is usually a shrub and is found in moist soils in sun or shade[17]. R. copallina lanceolata. Gray. is more tree-like and is found in drier soils[17]. Transplants easily[12]. Plants have brittle branches and these can be broken off in strong winds[19]. Plants are also susceptible to coral spot fungus[21]. Many of the species in this genus are highly toxic and can also cause severe irritation to the skin of some people, whilst other species such as this one are not poisonous. It is relatively simple to distinguish which is which, the poisonous species have axillary panicles and smooth fruits whilst non-poisonous species have compound terminal panicles and fruits covered with acid crimson hairs[22][15]. The toxic species are sometimes separated into their own genus, Toxicodendron, by some botanists[19]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[19].

Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Rhus copallina. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Rhus copallina.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Rhus copallina
Genus
Rhus
Family
Anacardiaceae
Imported References
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
5
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
full sun
Shade
no shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
  • Drought
  • Strong wind
Ecosystems
Native Climate Zones
None listed.
Adapted Climate Zones
None listed.
Native Geographical Range
None listed.
Native Environment
None listed.
Ecosystem Niche
None listed.
Root Zone Tendancy
None listed.
Life
Deciduous or Evergreen
Herbaceous or Woody
Life Cycle
Growth Rate
Mature Size
2 x 2 meters
Fertility
Pollinators
Flower Colour
?
Flower Type











References

  1. ? 1.01.1 Sholto-Douglas. J. Alternative Foods. ()
  2. ? 2.02.12.22.3 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
  3. ? 3.03.1 Yanovsky. E. Food Plants of the N. American Indians. Publication no. 237. U.S. Depf of Agriculture. ()
  4. ? 4.04.1 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
  5. ? 5.05.15.2 Elias. T. The Complete Trees of N. America. Field Guide and Natural History. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co. ISBN 0442238622 (1980-00-00)
  6. ? 6.06.1 Saunders. C. F. Edible and Useful Wild Plants of the United States and Canada. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-23310-3 (1976-00-00)
  7. ? 7.07.1 Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World. Keigaku Publishing (1976-00-00)
  8. ? 8.08.18.28.38.48.5 Vines. R. A. Trees of Central Texas. University of Texas Press ISBN 0-292-78958-3 (1987-00-00)
  9. ? 9.09.1 McPherson. A. and S. Wild Food Plants of Indiana. Indiana University Press ISBN 0-253-28925-4 (1977-00-00)
  10. ? 10.010.1 Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
  11. ? 11.011.111.2 Sargent. C. S. Manual of the Trees of N. America. Dover Publications Inc. New York. ISBN 0-486-20278-X (1965-00-00)
  12. ? 12.012.112.212.312.412.512.6 Buchanan. R. A Weavers Garden. ()
  13. ? 13.013.113.2 Hill. A. F. Economic Botany. The Maple Press (1952-00-00)
  14. ? 14.014.1 Rottsieper. E.H.W. Vegetable Tannins The Forestal Land, Timber and Railways Co. Ltd. (1946-00-00)
  15. ? 15.015.115.215.315.4 Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
  16. ? 16.016.116.216.316.416.516.616.7 Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-453-9 (1998-00-00)
  17. ? 17.017.117.217.3 Vines. R.A. Trees of North Texas University of Texas Press. ISBN 0292780206 (1982-00-00)
  18. ? 18.018.118.218.3 Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America. Houghton Mifflin Co. ISBN 0395467225 (1990-00-00)
  19. ? 19.0019.0119.0219.0319.0419.0519.0619.0719.0819.0919.1019.11 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
  20. ? Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers. MacMillan and Co (1948-00-00)
  21. ? 21.021.121.2 Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (1981-00-00)
  22. ? 22.022.1 F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
  23. ? Thomas. G. S. Ornamental Shrubs, Climbers and Bamboos. Murray ISBN 0-7195-5043-2 (1992-00-00)
  24. ? Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named PFAFimport-43


Facts about "Rhus copallina"RDF feed
Article is incompleteYes +
Article requires citationsNo +
Article requires cleanupYes +
Belongs to familyAnacardiaceae +
Belongs to genusRhus +
Functions asHedge + and Earth stabiliser +
Has binomial nameRhus copallina +
Has common nameDwarf Sumach +
Has drought toleranceTolerant +
Has edible partUnknown part + and Fruit +
Has edible useDrink + and Unknown use +
Has environmental toleranceHigh wind + and Drought +
Has fertility typeSelf sterile + and Bees +
Has flowers of typeDioecious +
Has growth rateVigorous +
Has hardiness zone5 +
Has lifecycle typePerennial +
Has material partUnknown part +
Has material useDye +, Mordant +, Oil +, Resin +, Tannin +, Varnish + and Wood +
Has mature height2 +
Has mature width2 +
Has medicinal partUnknown part +
Has medicinal useAstringent +, Enuresis +, Galactogogue +, Poultice + and Salve +
Has search namerhus copallina + and dwarf sumach +
Has shade toleranceNo shade +
Has soil ph preferenceAcid +, Neutral + and Alkaline +
Has soil texture preferenceSandy +, Loamy + and Clay +
Has soil water retention preferenceWell drained +
Has sun preferenceFull sun +
Has taxonomic rankSpecies +
Has taxonomy nameRhus copallina +
Has water requirementsmoderate +
Is deciduous or evergreenDeciduous +
Is herbaceous or woodyWoody +
Is taxonomy typeSpecies +
PFAF cultivation notes migratedNo +
PFAF edible use notes migratedNo +
PFAF material use notes migratedNo +
PFAF medicinal use notes migratedNo +
PFAF propagation notes migratedNo +
PFAF toxicity notes migratedNo +
Tolerates nutritionally poor soilNo +
Tolerates windYes +
Uses mature size measurement unitMeters +
Has subobjectThis property is a special property in this wiki.Rhus copallina +, Rhus copallina +, Rhus copallina +, Rhus copallina +, Rhus copallina +, Rhus copallina +, Rhus copallina +, Rhus copallina +, Rhus copallina +, Rhus copallina +, Rhus copallina +, Rhus copallina +, Rhus copallina + and Rhus copallina +