- Botanical: Toxicodendron succedaneum
- Family: Anacardiaceae
- Hits: 950
Known asJapanese wax tree, Poison ivy, Poison oak, Poison wine.
Old Usemedical, culinary, industry
Rhus Toxicodendron, or Poison oak, is a creeping shrub from 1 to 3 feet high, with long cord-like shoots, emitting strong lateral fibers; the stems are either erect or decumbent. The bark is brownish-gray. The leaves are ternate, on long, semi-cylindrical petioles; the leaflets are broadly oval or rhomboidal, 2 to 6 inches long, 2/3 as wide, petiolate, acuminate, smooth and shining above, slightly downy beneath, especially on the veins; the margin is sometimes entire, and sometimes variously toothed and lobed, in the same plant. The flowers are small, greenish-white, dioecious, and grow in axillary, subsessile, racemose panicles on the sides of the new shoots. Barren flowers have a calyx of 5 erect, acute segments, and a corolla of 5 oblong recurved petals; stamens erect with oblong anthers; in the center is a rudiment of a style. Fertile flowers about half the size of the preceding, with calyx and corolla similar, but more erect. They have 5 small abortive stamens, and a roundish ovary, crowned by a short, erect style bearing 3 small capitate stigmas. The fruit is a roundish, smooth, dry berry, of a pale-green color, approaching to white, and contains a solitary bony seed
Properties & Uses
\Antidote, antivinous, cholagogue, febrifuge, ophthalmic. Used as a wash to counteract varnish poisoning. Use with extreme caution, see notes above on toxicity. The fruit is used in the treatment of phthisis. A wax from the fruits is used in ointments. An ethanolic extract of the leaves exhibits anticancer and antiviral activities.
The leaves contain about 20% tannin. They can be collected as they fall in the autumn and used as a brown dye or as a mordant. The sap is tapped and used as a lacquer. It is much used in Japanese art and needs to be kept in a cool humid place for it to dry properly. The Japanese traditionally kept their paintings in a damp cave until the lacquer had dried. A yellow dye is obtained from the wood. A wax obtained from the fruit is used to make candles, floor wax, varnish etc.
Fruit -The acid pulp is eaten. The edible fruit contains ellagic acid. These reports need to be treated with some caution due to the general toxicity of the species
This plant contains toxic substances which can cause severe irritation to some people. The fresh sap causes skin blisters. The leaves contain the ubiquitous carcinogen shikimic acid.
E. Asia - China, Japan, Himalayas.
The fruit contains about 17% wax. The fatty acid composition of the wax is 77% palmitic, 5% stearic and arachidic, 6% dibasic, 12% oleic and a trace of linoleic. The seed oil contains 25% glycerides of palmitic, 47% oleic and 28% linoleic