One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A shrub or small tree of the cashew family, with compound leaves, fruits in conical clusters, and bright autumn colors.
Genera Rhus and Cotinus, family Anacardiaceae: several species, including the North American staghorn sumac (R. typhina), with densely clustered reddish hairy fruits, and poison sumac (R. vernix), with loosely clustered greenish-white fruits. Touching any part of the poison sumac can cause severe dermatitis
- ‘Irritated summer skin is usually caused by clogged sweat ducts, a condition called prickly heat or miliaria, or by exposure to poison ivy, oak or sumac.’
- ‘The answer lies in the tremendous diversity of deciduous trees: maples, oaks, sumacs and beech each impart their own range of colours to the overall palette.’
- ‘In late summer, we cleared the 2-and 3-inch-diameter sumacs that had invaded the old garden.’
- ‘Oak trees provide acorns, dogwoods and sumac provide red berries through the fall and winter and serviceberry bears edible berries in late spring or early summer.’
- ‘And you can get even better protection by avoiding poison ivy all together, as well as its cousins poison sumac and poison oak.’
- ‘Taking the trails at a healthy pace, I rounded the corner on a crop of autumn red sumac when two deer bounded out of their shelter beside me, tufts of snow flying in their wake.’
- ‘She left the road again and ran until she found another sheltered hollow in the trees and sumac, where she lay down and waited.’
- ‘The most common forms included beech-like trees, poplars, willows, cattails, sumac, soapberry, and conifers such as pines, sequoias, and false cypress.’
- ‘Our biggest loss this year has been the sumach tree which grew outside the dining room window.’
- ‘The procedure for making true lacquer required the resin secreted by the Rhus vemicifera, a sumac tree that was not indigenous to the West and was unknown in Europe until the beginning of the eighteenth century.’
- ‘You will remember that we accidentally killed the original tree, a sumach, by suffocating the roots with a mixture of rotting logs and sunflower husks.’
- ‘We also have a staghorn sumac tree and pussy willows.’
- ‘Commonly encountered shrubs barberry and Oregon graperoot (both Berberis species), sumacs, rose, blackberry, raspberry, myrtle, alders and elders.’
- ‘In the northeastern foothills, on relatively dry slopes, bur oak dominates above an understory of hop hornbeam, smooth sumac, coralberry, and poison ivy.’
- ‘If a child touches poison ivy, poison oak or a sumac plant, causing an itchy rash with pin-size clear blisters, give him a thorough bath to remove the oily resin that caused the reaction.’
- ‘Among the thousands of species he planted on LaGuardia Place are red and white oak, cedar, elm, birch, sassafras, dogwood, sumac, Virginia creeper and goldenrod.’
- ‘In October, after the growing season, I had a female sumach tree cut down to ground level.’
- ‘If the vision is clouded, the result is not what we intend; the apple tree is a poison sumac.’
- ‘Other locally common tannin-rich plants include blackberry, raspberry, rose, lady's mantle, agrimony, meadowsweet, and strawberry (all members of the rose family), geraniums, purple loosestrife, and sumacs.’
- ‘It only takes one case of poison ivy, oak or sumac to convince most people to stay away from these skin-irritating plants.’
Middle English (denoting the dried and ground leaves of R. coriaria used in tanning and dyeing): from Old French sumac or medieval Latin sumac(h), from Arabic summāq.
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