UKTC Archive

RE: Rhus verniciflua (varnish tree) warning

Subject: RE: Rhus verniciflua (varnish tree) warning
From: Peter Thurman
Date: Dec 23 2006 09:54:29
That was very bad luck as this tree is quite rare in the UK. In America they
group some species of Rhus into the genus Toxicodendron. See:

It looks like they are a serious problem over there:

I would add that sap of Euphorbiaceae can also be dangerous. Fortunately
there are no trees of this genus hardy in the UK - but E. mellifera can
become a large shrub.


-----Original Message-----
From: [] 
Sent: 22 December 2006 20:07
To: UK Tree Care
Subject: Rhus verniciflua (varnish tree) warning

I felled an unfamiliar tree last week, after some debate I had guessed it  
was a Rhus, but some variety, not typhina. No suckers, and looked like it
grow too tall to be typhina. 
Not being familiar with the varnish tree I only warned the lads that the
was "horrible gungey stuff"  but J got some on his forearm when  carrying 
cordwood to the truck and ended up in casualty two days later with  severe 
blistering chemical burns. The arm is healing slowly now.  I would  never
believed tree sap could cause such a bad burn if I had not seen it  with my
eyes. Even the nurses and doctors had never seen anything like it  before,
called all their colleagues over to see for themselves.
So watch out: Rhus verniciflua, the varnish tree, is nasty stuff, similar
giant hogweed by all accounts.
Andrew McManus
P.S. are there any other nasties out there ?
P.P.S. I missed this warning in 2002 but picked it out of the archives
Re: Other names?
"Edmund Hopkins"  <>
Wed, 31 Jul 2002 10:04:52  +0100
Baker, Rupert <> wrote:

Varnish tree is Rhus typhinus & is seriuosly dodgy - contact with wood

sawdust sap etc causes serious blistering & sensitisation

Morning Rupert, I thought that was Rhus verniciflua, rather than the

ubiquitous R typhina, causing acute dermatitis and hospitalisation, though

typhina is also to be treated with caution. Was'nt there a piece in the AA

journal some years ago? 

Edmund Hopkins

Arboricultural Officer

The UK Tree Care mailing list
To unsubscribe send

The UKTC is supported by The Arbor Centre

The UK Tree Care mailing list
To unsubscribe send

The UKTC is supported by The Arbor Centre