Is this a Rhus?

Discussion in 'Plants: Identification' started by Silver surfer, Nov 19, 2009.

  1. Silver surfer

    Silver surfer Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Help please.
    This tree was in a large established private garden, open to the public for a day in October. The whole place was full of special trees and shrubs,including some large specimens.

    I think it may be a Rhus, please can someone confirm this,and tell me which species? Or am I miles out?
    Thank you.
     

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  2. thanrose

    thanrose Active Member 10 Years

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    Sure does look like a Rhus. I also compared it to Pistache chinensis, but that doesn't fit either.

    Rhus virens is Texas sumac. Your specimen looks similar. Things that make me rule it out are number of leaflets, and arid nature. Yours probably gets more water than Rhus virens would tolerate, even with only rainfall. And yours has more leaflets. I believe R. virens is up to nine. Of course, that's just from googling. Also, R. virens should be maroon or purple at this time of year.

    Second possibility is Rhus typhina, with which I am familiar from living in New England. I think yours would look more furry if it was Rhus typhina or staghorn sumac, and the serrations on the leaflets would be more dentate. Rhus typhina is also sometimes called Rhus hirta. I'm not sure which is the current name.

    It sure looks like an Anacardiaceae. I'll be interested in seeing which one we eventually ID.

    edit to respell Anacardiaceae, duh.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2009
  3. Silver surfer

    Silver surfer Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Thanks thanrose for looking.
    This was not a small tree, you can maybe get the scale by the group of people way behind it, on the right. Many other trees in the garden were "colouring up". This one was still very green.

    We used to have a Pistacia chinensis. It has altogether small daintier leaflets. So I am sure it is not one of those.

    Nor could I see any remnants of flowers as I would expect and recognise from Rhus typhina, which is very common in gardens here.
     
  4. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Toxicodendron vernicifluum?
     
  5. thanrose

    thanrose Active Member 10 Years

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    Excellent suggestion, Daniel!

    Sorry, Silver Surfer, I didn't zoom in on the people for a better idea of scale. I'd say it's in the 20-30 meter range of T. vernicifluum.
     
  6. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Bear in mind that the people are well back from the tree - taking perspective into account, that tree is probably about 8-9 metres tall, at most 10.
     
  7. Silver surfer

    Silver surfer Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Thank you for the suggestion Daniel.

    Hmmm! I am not sure. I have read that Toxicodendron vernicifluum has 16-30 pairs of veins. This tree seems to have only 13 from what I can see.There isn't much about it on www .I remember seeing one at Westonbirt, but cannot remember the details. Maybe I will have to visit in the spring to have a good look at a live specimen.

    Michael is probably correct with the height, maybe 20-30ft.

    http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Toxicodendron_vernicifluum_01.jpg
     
  8. Andrey Zharkikh

    Andrey Zharkikh Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    If the photographer and the people in the photo are of the same height, say, 1.6 m and if the road is plain, then the horizontal line from the people's heads will cut the tree at 1.6 m. Then, the tree is about 8.3 m high.
     
  9. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Put on disposable gloves, and cut a leaf or shoot. See if it bleeds creamy white sap that dries black. Note that if it is Toxicodendron vernicifluum, the sap is very caustic, casing serious skin burns (therefore the gloves!).
     
  10. Silver surfer

    Silver surfer Generous Contributor 10 Years

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  11. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Do they have any contact details where you can ask what it is?
     
  12. Silver surfer

    Silver surfer Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Yes, tried that! Really lovely, most helpful people, but, they are not sure what it is either.
     
  13. jcblue13

    jcblue13 Member

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    my guess it's not a rhus or toxicodendron. The photo of the button shows no tipical rhus button. Most rhus and toxicodendron (former rhus) have more pointed butts. Will try to get more info.

    http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/PDF/PDF11/Toxicodendron.pdf

    maybe this can help if you get near the plant again.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 30, 2009

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