Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Medical disclaimer: always check with a physician before consuming wild plants, and make positive identification in the field using a good source such as Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West.  Michael Moore also has a glossary of medical terms in his books, and maps in later editions. ) 
#83
Common Name: Sumach, Sumac, Smooth Sumach, Sugar Sumach, Leonadeberry, Lemita, Squaw Bush, Pajul del Norte 
Latin Name: Rhus glabra, R. trilobata, R. micrphylla, R. ovata  R. aromatica, R. integrifolia, R. typhina, R. vernix (Poison Sumach make sure you identify this one!!)
Family: Anarcadaceae
Range:http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=RHGL North American continent  including lower Canada, except Alaska. (Rhus glabra)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=RHMI3 Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas (Rhus microphylla)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=RHOV California, Arizona, Mexico (Rhus ovata)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=RHTR all states west of Mississippi, except Minnesota, Missouri, and Louisiana, plus Maryland, Ontario, Saskatchewan (Rhus trilobata)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=RHAR4 South Dakota to Texas, east to the Atlantic coast, excluding Maine, plus Ontario and Quebec (Rhus aromatica)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=RHTY all states east of the Mississippi R., except Florida, plus Utah, South Dakota, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia (Rhus typhina)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=RHIN2 California ( Rhus integrifolia)
Louisiana, Texas, Minnesota, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and all states east of the Mississippi (Poison Sumach) (Rhus vernix)
Photos: (Click on latin name after Common Name)
#83(a)
Common Name: Smooth Sumach (Rhus glabra )
Appearance and Habitat: The colony-forming smooth sumac is a 10-20 ft. shrub with short, crooked, leaning trunks and picturesque branches. The pinnately compound  leaves are  alternate,  with 13–30 sharp-toothed leaflets  on each side of the midrib.  Deciduous  leaves become extremely colorful in early fall. On female plants, yellow-green flowers are followed by bright-red, hairy berries in erect, pyramidal clusters which persist throughout winter. (1) Thickets and waste ground on dry soil and by streams.  The best specimens are found in rich moist soil. N. America – found in all 48 mainland states of the USA and in southern Canada.  A deciduous Shrub growing to 3 m (9ft) by 3 m (9ft). It is hardy to zone 2 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to August, and the seeds ripen from Sep to November. (2)
Warning: There are some suggestions that the sap of this species can cause skin rash in susceptible people, but this has not been substantiated. (3)
Edible Uses: Fruit – raw or cooked. An acid flavour, it has been used as a substitute for lemon juice. The fruit is rather small and with very little flesh, but it is produced on 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. Root – peeled and eaten raw. This report should be treated with some caution due to possible toxicity. Young shoots – peeled and eaten raw. This report should be treated with some caution due to possible toxicity. (4)
Medicinal Uses: Smooth sumach was employed medicinally by various native North American Indian tribes who used it to treat a variety of complaints. It is occasionally used in modern herbalism where it is valued for its astringent and antiseptic qualities. Some caution should be employed in the use of this species since it can possibly cause skin irritations. It is best only used under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. A tea made from the bark or root bark is alterative, antiseptic, astringent, galactogogue, haemostatic, rubefacient and tonic. It is used in the treatment of diarrhoea, fevers, general debility, sore mouths, rectal bleeding, uterine prolapse etc. It is used as a gargle to treat sore throats and applied externally to treat excessive vaginal discharge, burns and skin eruptions. The powdered bark can be applied as a poultice to old ulcers, it is a good antiseptic. A tea made from the roots is appetizer, astringent, diuretic and emetic. An infusion is used in the treatment of colds, sore throats, painful urination, retention of urine and dysentery. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. An infusion of the green or dried branches has been used in the treatment of TB. A decoction of the branches, with the seed heads, has been used to treat itchy scalps and as a bathing water for frost-bitten limbs. The milky latex from the plant has been used as a salve on sores. A tea made from the leaves was used in the treatment of asthma, diarrhoea and stomatitis. A poultice of the leaves has been used to treat skin rashes. The leaves have been chewed to treat sore gums and they have been rubbed on the lips to treat sore lips. The berries are diuretic, emetic, emmenagogue, purgative and refrigerant. They are used in the treatment of late-onset diabetes, stranguary bowel complaints, febrile diseases, dysmenorrhoea etc. They have been chewed as a remedy for bed-wetting. The blossoms have been chewed as a treatment for sore mouths A decoction of the blossoms has been used as a mouthwash for teething children. An infusion of the blossoms has been used as an eye wash for sore eyes. (5)
Native American – Other Uses: The stem of their pipes was made of sumach  This stem was about 24 inches long and an inch wide but quite thick, flat like a carpenter’s pencil.  This is the way the hole through the stem was made.  Gathering Sumach in Spring when the sap was up in the large pith, some meat or fish was put out where blowflies could work on it.  When large maggots were on the meat, the piece of Sumach which had previously been put in a can of oil or bear grease was brought in.  As the large pith had taken up the oil, it was soft, and quite a bit was dug out.  The maggots were then sealed up in the stem, to either eat their way through or die. . . But there was plenty of time to do it all over again, till a long perfect hole was drilled.
Indian Uses of Native Plants by Edith Murphey, page 60, publisher: Meyerbooks, Copyright 1990, ISBN 0-916638-15-4
**********************
#83(b)
Common Name: Desert Sumach, LIttleleaf Sumac  (Rhus microphylla)Appearance and Habitat: Little-leaf sumac is a much-branched, deciduous shrub, 4-16 ft. tall, with small,  pinnate  leaves composed of tiny, leather, shiny leaflets.  Axillary  and terminal clusters of white flowers, which appear before the leaves, are followed by 2-4 in. clusters of orange-red berries. Flowers and fruits are usually not very numerous. Fall color is muted rose and purple.  (1) Dry rocky hillsides or gravelly mesas 600 – 1800 meters.  South-western N. America Texas – Mexico.  A deciduous Shrub growing to 2 m (6ft 7in). The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant . (2)
Warnings: (same as Rhus glabra) (3)
Edible Uses: Fruit – raw or cooked. A sour flavour. The dried fruits can be ground up, mixed with water and used to make a jam. The fruit is small with very little flesh, but it is easily harvested and when soaked for 10 – 30 minutes in hot or cold water makes a very refreshing lemonade-like drink (without any fizz of course). The fruit is about 5mm in diameter. (4)
Medicinal Uses: None Known (5)
**************************
#83(c)
Common Name: Sugar Bush ( Rhus ovata )
Appearance and Habitat: Sugar sumac is an evergreen shrub   with large, bright-green, leathery leaves and dense, white flower clusters. Berries are reddish and sticky.  Evergreen shrub  or small tree  with rounded crown. The plant grows to 6 ft. tall. (1) Dry rocky slopes below 800 meters, usually away from the coast in California.  Grows in oak woodlands and chaparral.  South-western N. America California, Arizona, Mexico. An evergreen Shrub growing to 2 m (6ft 7in).  It is hardy to zone 9 and is frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan. (2)
Warnings: (Same as Rhus glabra ) (3)
Edible Uses: Fruit – raw or cooked. Slightly acid to sweet tasting. The fruit is only 6 – 8mm in diameter with very little flesh, but it is produced in dense racemes 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 fruit can also be sucked for the tart juice that forms on its surface. A sweetish white sap exudes from the fruit and can be used as an acid flavouring or a sugar substitute. The leaves are boiled to make a tea. (4)
Medicinal Uses: An infusion of the leaves has been used in the treatment of chest pains, coughs and colds. An infusion has also been taken just before giving birth to facilitate an easy delivery. Some caution is advised in the use of the leaves and stems of this plant. (5)
Foot Notes: (2, 3, 4, 5) http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rhus%20ovata
***************************
#83(d)
Common Name: Skunk Brush, Three-lobed Sumach, Squaw Brush (Rhus trilobata)
Native American Names: See-a-wimb  (Paiute and Shoshone), Ish (Utes), T’net (Warm Springs Oregon Tribe) (1)
Appearance and Habitat: This is a widespread, variable species, consisting of several varieties throughout its range. It is a low, spreading, much-branched deciduous shrub,   usually no more than 3 ft. high but spreading as much as 8 ft. The small,  trigoliate leaves and the branches are fuzzy. Flowers are yellowish in clustered spikes and are followed by bright crimson to reddish, sticky berries. Fall foliage is colorful. (2)Foothills, canyons, slopes etc. usually on dry rocky soils and especially on limestone outcrops.  Western N. America A deciduous Shrub growing to 1.8 m (6ft). It is hardy to zone 3 and is not frost tender. It is in flower in April. (3)
Warnings:(Same as Rhus glabra) (4)
Edible Uses: Fruit – raw or cooked. The fruit can be eaten fresh, dried, mixed with cornmeal or made into a jam. 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. The fruit is about 6mm in diameter. (5) The bright red berries are used for a drink. (6)
Medicinal Uses: Skunk bush was employed medicinally by several native North American Indian tribes, who valued it especially for its astringent qualities and used it to treat a range of complaints. It is little, if at all, used in modern herbalism. Due to its potentially toxic nature, it should be used with some caution and preferably only under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. The fruit is analgesic, astringent and stomachic. It has been eaten as a treatment for stomach problems and grippe. The dried berries have been ground into a powder and dusted onto smallpox pustules. The fruit has been chewed as a treatment for toothache and also used as a mouthwash A decoction of the fruit has been used as a wash to prevent the hair falling out. The leaves are astringent, diuretic, emetic and haemostatic. An infusion of the leaves has been used in the treatment of head colds. A decoction of the leaves has been drunk to induce impotency as a method of contraception. A poultice of leaves has been used to treat itches. An infusion of the bark has been used as a douche after childbirth. The bark has been chewed, and the juice swallowed, as a treatment for colds and sore gums. A decoction of the root bark has been taken to facilitate easy delivery of the placenta. The roots have been used as a deodorant. The buds have been used on the body as a medicinal deodorant and perfume. (7)
Other Uses: Slender twigs of this shrub are rolled up with their leaves and used either fresh or dried.  Pitch from the pinyon and yellow ochre are added and all boiled together to make the best Indian black dye. ( 8 )
Foot Notes: (1, 8 ) Indian Uses of Native Plants by Edith Murphey, page 17, 53, publisher: Meyerbooks, Copyright 1990, ISBN 0-916638-15-4
*************************
#83(e)
Common Name: Lemon Sumach ( Rhus aromatica )
Appearance and Habitat: Fragrant sumac is an irregular, spreading, deciduous shrub,  6-12 ft. tall, with velvety twigs and lower branches turned up at the tips. Glossy, somewhat blue-green, coarsely toothed, trifoliate leaves turn orange, red, purple and yellow in the fall. Yellowish catkin-like flowers precede dark-red berries which persist into March. A sprawling, small to medium-size shrub  with aromatic foliage. (1) Dry rocks, sand, open woods often on limestone outcrops. Eastern N. America Quebec to Florida, Indiana to Texas. A deciduous Shrub growing to 1.2 m (4ft) by 1.5 m (5ft in). It is hardy to zone 3 and is not frost tender. It is in flower in April, and the seeds ripen in September. (2)
Warnings:(Same as Rhus glabra) (3)
Edible Uses: Fruit – raw or cooked. The fruit is small with very little flesh, but it is easily harvested and when soaked for 10 – 30 minutes in hot or cold water 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. The fruit can also be dried and ground into a powder then mixed with corn meal and used in cakes, porridges etc. (4)
Medicinal Uses: The leaves are astringent and diuretic. They were used in the treatment of colds, stomach aches and bleeding. The root bark is astringent and diuretic. An infusion can be used in the treatment of diarrhoea, dysentery. Used externally, it is used to treat excessive vaginal discharge and skin eruptions and also as a gargle for sore throats. Its use is contraindicated if inflammation is present. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. The fruits are astringent and diuretic. They have been chewed in the treatment of stomach aches, toothaches and gripe and used as a gargle to treat mouth and throat complaints. They help reduce fevers and may be of help in treating late-onset diabetes. (5)
*****************************
#83(f)
Common Name: Lemonade Berry ( Rhus integrifolia)
Appearance and Habitat:A wide-spreading, rounded, evergreen shrub to 8 ft. inland and 2 ft. on the ocean. Leaves are shiny, dark-green, leathery and aromatic. Small, pink flowers occur in dense, hairy clusters and are followed by reddish berries.  Evergreen, aromatic, rounded, thicket-forming shrub; rarely a small tree  with a short, stout trunk and many branches. (1)  Ocean bluffs, canyons and dry places below 800 meters.  In sandy sterile soil often forming close impenetrable thickets.  South-western N. America – California. An evergreen Shrub growing to 2 m (6ft 7in).  It is hardy to zone 9 and is frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower in May. (2)
Warnings: (Same as Rhus glabra) (3)
Edible Uses: Fruit – raw or cooked. The fruit is covered with a pleasant acid-tasting exudation that can be sucked. The fruit is small, up to 10mm in diameter, 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. The leaves have been chewed to assuage thirst. The roasted fruit is a coffee substitute. (4)
Medicinal Uses: None. (5)
*****************************
#83(g)
Common Name: Stag’s Horn Sumach (Rhus typhina )
Appearance and Habitat:  The stag-horn sumac is a 15-30 ft., colony-forming, deciduous shrub with crooked, leaning trunks, picturesque branches and velvety twigs. Large, bright-green, pinnately-compound leaves become extremely colorful in early fall. On  female plants, yellow-green flowers are followed by fuzzy, bright red berries in erect, pyramidal clusters which persist throughout winter. Staghorn Sumac reaches tree  size more often than related species and commonly forms thickets. In winter, the bare, widely forking, stout, hairy twigs resemble deer antlers in velvet, hence the alternate common name. (1) Usually found in upland sites on rich soils, but it is also found on gravel and sandy nutrient-poor soils.  It grows b streams and swamps, along roadsides, railway embankments and edges of woods.  In Eastern N. America – New Brunswick to the southern Appalachian mountains and west to Iowa.  A deciduous Shrub growing to 6 m (19ft) by 6 m (19ft) at a fast rate.  It is hardy to zone 3 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to August, and the seeds ripen from Oct to December. (2)
 Warnings: (Same as Rhus glabra ) (3)
Edible Uses: Fruit – cooked. A very sour flavour, they are used in pies. The fruit is rather small and with very little flesh, but it is produced in quite large clusters 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. (4)
Medicinal Uses: Stag’s horn sumach was often employed medicinally by several native North American Indian tribes who valued it especially for its astringent qualities. It is little used in modern herbalism. Some caution is advised in the use of the leaves and stems of this plant, see the notes above on toxicity. The bark is antiseptic, astringent, galactogogue and tonic. An infusion is used in the treatment of diarrhoea, fevers, piles, general debility, uterine prolapse etc. An infusion is also said to greatly increase the milk flow of a nursing mother – small pieces of the wood were also eaten for this purpose. The inner bark is said to be a valuable remedy for piles. The roots are astringent, blood purifier, diuretic and emetic. An infusion of the roots, combined with purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) has been used in the treatment of venereal disease. A poultice of the roots has been used to treat boils. The leaves are astringent. They have been used in the treatment of asthma, diarrhoea and stomatosis. An infusion of the fruits has been used as a tonic to improve the appetite and as a treatment for diarrhoea. The berries are astringent and blood purifier. They were chewed as a remedy for bed-wetting. A tea made from the berries has been used to treat sore throats. The flowers are astringent and stomachic. An infusion has been used to treat stomach pains. The sap has been applied externally as a treatment of warts. (5)
Foot Notes: (2, 3, 4, 5) http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rhus%20typhina
***************************************
#83(h)
(The one to be careful of, make good indentification to avoid.)
Common Name: Poison Sumach ( Rhus vernix)
Appearance and Habitat: Poisonous yet attractive narrow-crowned shrub or small tree  with waxy whitish berries and dramatic fall foliage. (1) Wooded swamps, often inundated for part of the year.  Eastern N. America – Maine to Vermont and Ontario, south to Florida, Missouri, and Louisiana. (2)
Warnings: This plant contains toxic substances and skin contact with it can cause severe irritation to some people.  The sap is extremely poisonous.  The sap contains 3-N pentadecycatechnol.  Many people are exceedlngly sensitive to this, it causes a severe spreading of dermatitis.  The toxins only reach the skin if the plant tissues have been damaged, but even indirect contact can cause severe problems.  (3)
Edible Uses: Oil. (4)
Medicnal Uses: Poison sumach has occasionally been used medicinally, though it is an extremely poisonous plant and great caution should be exercised. Any herbal use should only be undertaken under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. See also the notes above on toxicity. The plant has been used in the treatment of fevers, ague, ulcerated bladder, asthma and wasting diseases. The plant has been used as a wash to treat foul ulcers. (5)
Foot Notes: (2, 3, 4, 5)
************************************
(Now for Michael Moore)
(Rhus glabra, R. trilobata, R microphylla, R. ovata covered)
Appearance and Habitat: We will begin by dividing the Sumach’s up by the number of leaves that they have. 
Rhus ovata and a close relative R. kearneyi are the Sugar Sumachs.  They form large bushes from 4 to 10 feet tall with large single oval leaves.  The leaves are a bluish-green, are leathery with a deep central vein.  They form terminal cream-white  puffs of flowers that mature into sticky-hairy fat red berries.  They are found in central Arizona, the Mogollon Rim, and in California in much of the desert mountains of the south to the coast and north to Santa Barbara.  They are usually found at an elevation of 2,000 to 4,000. 
The one Sumach with 3 leaves is Squawbush or Skunkbush, R. trilobata, and looks like a miniature leaved Poison Oak.  But Poison Oak is a vine not a bush and has white berries, not red like Sumach’s have.  Squawbush is a tidy, but much varied bush or shrub, with an unpleasant odor.  In the summer and fall it has many little tight clusters of 5 to 10 berries.  Squawbush is everywhere in the Great Basin, from Utah, Idaho, to Northern Nevada.  Another inhabitant of the Great Basin is Utah  Squawbush that has a single odd shaped leaf.
The pinnate-leaved Sumachs usually have a milky sap.  Starting with five leaves, we have Mearns Sumach  and Evergreen Sumach (R. choriopylla and R. virens) they are medium  to large shrubs that are symmetrical in shape.  They have the typical  cream-white flowers, that mature into sticky-hairy clusters of berries.  Mearns Sumach is a middle to lower mountain plant that grows from the foothills near Tucson to the foothills south of Albuquerque.  The Evergreen Sumach is also a foothill bush of the Guadalupe ad Davis mountains of New Mexico and Texas.
Littleleaf Sumach (R. microphylla) is a mesquite type bush that greens out in summer to form the flowers, then the 7 to 11 pinnate leaves, and then the berries.  Littleleaf Sumach grows from the Huachucas mountains  of southeastern Arizona to the Guadalupes in southern New Mexico, W. Texas and into Mexico.  They usually grow between 3,500 feet and 6,000 feet in rather gravelly soil.
Smooth Sumach (R. glabra)  and Prairie Sumach (R. copallina) form plants from waist high to head high plants with compound leaves up to 31 or 33 leaflets to a leave.  They form dense clusters of  brick red berries.  The leaves turn a blood-red to purple-red in the late fall.  Smooth Sumach grows in moist, warmer canyons of Arizona and New Mexico and north to Colorado, Utah and Canada growing at elevations between 4,500 and 7,000 feet.  Prairie Sumach is found in the Guadalupe and Davis mountains of New Mexico and Texas.
Edible Uses: Steep a rounded tablespoon of the fresh or dried berries in a cup of water, stir until tasty, adding sugar if you prefer.  The fruit contains calcium and potassium malates.  Gather the berries when they are still red and the leaves are green or red and dry intact in the bunches.
Medicinal Uses: Gather the leaving stems when green.  You can dry them in a paper sack.  When dry, powder them for topical use as a salve.  To make a salve, use 1 part powered leaves to 2 parts Vaseline.  You can also use the powered leaves to make a topical salve using glycerine and water mixed in halves to 1part by weight of powered leaves.  This tincture has to set for a month before using it.  The salves are excellent treatments for mechanical injuries to the lips, nostril membranes, genitals and mouth membranes.  They act to soothe, shrink, and mildly disinfect such sores and ulcers.  The tinctures can be diluted with twice as much warm water to use as a nasal spray in cases of soreness from too much smoke or dust.
 Medicinal Plants of the Desert and Canyon West by Michael Moore;pages 118 -120,  publisher: Museum of New Mexico Press, Copyright 1989; ISBN 0-89013-182-1 
 Reproduced, in part, (as well as previous postings under this title) in accordance with Section 107 of title 17 of the Copyright Law of the United States relating to fair-use and is for the purposes of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.