Search 1000s of Fact Sheets
Gardens
Pets
Lifestyle

Keywords

Subcategory

Keywords

Exact matches only

Subcategory

Keywords

Exact matches only

Subcategory

Backyard Blitz Factsheets
ADVERTISEMENT.
ADVERTISEMENT.
In the Magazine

Dangers of Rhus

In the Garden > Trees and Palms

Dangers of Rhus

The rhus tree (Toxicodendron succedaneum) is the most dangerous plant in Australia. It is classified as a noxious weed in New South Wales and South Australia and those growing the plant in these states can be fined up to $2000. If you live in other states and have a rhus tree in your garden, it is also advisable to get rid of it because it is a danger.

Many of the old gardening books state that only some people are allergic to the rhus plant but it has since been found that 98.5% of the population will develop an allergy of some kind after varying lengths of contact. Only 1.5% of the population will not develop an allergy to the rhus plant if they have contact with it over an extended period. Reactions vary from a rash to severe swellings of the limbs and face, sometimes producing temporary blindness.

It is possible to have a rhus tree in your garden without knowing it, as most come up as weeds and are spread by birds. The fruit is eaten by birds, often currawongs, and germinate in the bird's droppings.

The name rhus is pronounced 'rus' (as 'bus') and the botanic name, Toxicodendron, means 'poison tree'.

Identification

The rhus tree has a series of small leaflets on each leaf, ending in one V-shaped leaf. The leaves turn brilliant red in autumn and when fully grown, the tree reaches about 5m (16ft) tall. It has yellow flowers and large clusters of brown, cherry-sized berries which are not edible. The non-irritant pistachio tree (Pistacia chinensis) has similar leaves and is commonly mistaken for the rhus tree. It colours very well.

The two trees can be identified by the difference in their leaves. The rhus tree has an end leaf and the pistachio has no end leaf (See diagram).

Local councils can identify and advise if you have any problems.

Removing a rhus tree

It is best to get a professional tree surgeon to remove the tree for you. If this is not possible, here are some important things to remember when getting rid of a rhus tree: Completely cover body with gloves, goggles and protective clothing.
Do not burn the tree to dispose of it, as the smoke could cause serious injury and possibly death.
Put all off-cuts into a strong garbage bag and take to the tip.

Note: Every part of the tree is poisonous.

Copyright CTC Productions 2006

Disclaimer:  Burke's Backyard and Backyard Blitz do not accept payment to promote products. All recommendations are genuine. Details on the fact sheets are accurate at the time of publishing, however prices and contact information are not updated and may change.

Special Gift Pack
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
The Message Board

Get help, share your knowledge

5002 posts
1720 users
3249 posts
1095 users
1850 posts
867 users
1503 posts
599 users
611 posts
306 users

View all forums

Members
The Lazy Gardener
The Lazy Gardener
Don Burke's all new The Lazy Gardener is out now.
buy now
Organic
Organic
Don's guide to growing organic food for your family.
buy now
Indigenous
Indigenous
Don's story, his own stunnning native garden, plus expert advice and tips
buy now
Kid's gardening kit
Kid's Gardening Kit
A great kids gardening kit with tools and fun activities.
buy now
© 2007-2014 CTC Productions, All Rights Reserved
Home | Message Board | Fact Sheets | Members | Magazine | CTC Facilities | About Us | Privacy Policy | Contact Us