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'.
Fruit - raw or cooked
. The fruit is small with very little flesh, but it is produced in fairly large panicles and so is easily harvested. When soaked for 10 - 30 minutes in hot or cold water it makes a very refreshing lemonade-like drink (without any fizz of course)
. The mixture should not be boiled since this will release tannic acids and make the drink astringent.
An oil is extracted from the seeds
. It attains a tallow-like consistency on standing and is used to make candles. These burn brilliantly, though they emit a pungent smoke
The leaves are rich in tannin. They can be collected as they fall in the autumn and used as a brown dye or as a mordant
The leaves are used in domestic medicine for relieving asthma
Some caution is advised in the use of the leaves and stems of this plant, see the notes above on toxicity.
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
. 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
. 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.
Root cuttings 4cm long taken in December and potted up vertically in a greenhouse. Good percentage.
Suckers in late autumn to winter
Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Rhus sempervirens. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.
We have very little information on the hardiness of this species and do not know if it will succeed outdoors in Britain. It is unlikely to succeed anywhere outside the mildest areas of the country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus.
Succeeds in a well-drained fertile soil in full sun.
The young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts.
Plants have brittle branches and these can be broken off in strong winds. Plants are also susceptible to coral spot fungus. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.
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. The toxic species are sometimes separated into their own genus, Toxicodendron, by some botanists.
Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
There are no interactions listed for Rhus sempervirens. 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 sempervirens.
This table shows all the data stored for this plant.
Material uses & Functions
Native Climate Zones
Adapted Climate Zones
Native Geographical Range
Root Zone Tendancy
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? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
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