Font Size 

Toxicodendron succedeneum - Rhus



Toxicodendron Succedeneum.jpg 


Each spring Rhus produces clusters of very small yellowish flowers which then form tawny coloured berries between May and September. Birds like to eat the berries and help to spread the seed into nearby gardens and bushland.


Rhus is a shrub or small tree most noticeable in late summer and autumn when its foliage turns brilliant yellow, orange and red. Often the small saplings are not noticed in among shrubs until they turn red, so autumn is the best time to check your garden. The rest of the year the leaves are dark green above and a lighter grey green on the underside.

The leaves are up to twenty five centimetres long and are divided into seven to fifteen leaflets, each four to ten centimetres long. Rhus can be confused with Chinese Pistacio (Pistacia chinensis) and the native Red Cedar (Toona cilata). However, neither of these plants have the single leaflet at the end of the row of opposite leaflets and they don’t turn as intensely red in autumn as Rhus.

Control & Removal Methods

Skin contact with any part of this weed can cause severe dermatitis including swelling, especially of the neck and face. Contact with the sap is particularly dangerous. If you are removing Rhus, remember to handle with caution. Wear protective clothing such as long trousers and long sleeved shirt and gloves. Small seedlings can be gently pulled out by hand if care is taken not to snap the stem or tap root. Alternatively, the main root system can be dug out.

The larger plants can be killed by cutting the stem or trunk close to the ground using a pair of loppers or a saw and then immediately painting the cut section with glyphosate herbicide. However, plants which require poisoning need to be treated in spring or summer otherwise the herbicide will not work effectively.

Dead segments of Rhus can also cause allergic reactions. You can use the Council Green Waste Collection to dispose of Rhus by placing the plant pieces in a hessian bag. Do not attempt to burn the plant as inhalation of the smoke can be dangerous.