gather pollen during the morning hours, before the sun has stimulated the nectaries. Later in the day little pollen is brought in.

In Georgia there are several species of sumac which are valuable, but the most important is Rhus copallina, common names of which are dwarf sumac and mountain sumac. This species extends from Maine to Florida and Texas and westward to Minnesota. In a few localities in North Georgia it is the main source of marketable honey. In that state it blooms in August.

In central Texas in the hilly sections of Coryell, Lampasas, Burnet, and other counties, several species of sumac are common. Rhus copallina and R. glabra are abundant, blooming the last of July and early in August. A surplus of 100 pounds per colony has been obtained, but the average is often not more than 25 pounds. About 50 colonies can be supported in one location. The honey is amber-colored, of heavy body, and has a fine flavor. In California poison oak (Rhus diversiloba) is abundant in the foothills of the mountains, and yields a light-colored honey of good flavor, which is not poisonous. From laurel sumac (R. laurina) and sugar bush (R. ovata) many beekeepers obtain an extraction. Two other sumacs are also valuable in this state.


There are about 17 species of poisonous sumacs, found in North America and Asia. Many persons are severely poisoned by coming in contact with these plants, while others are able to handle or even chew the leaves with impunity. Occasionally the exhalation given off by the foliage is poisonous to very susceptible individuals. A very distressing inflammation of the skin is produced, which in rare cases has been fatal. A few hours after exposure there is intense itching, followed by blisters, swelling, and fever. The malady commonly is at its height on the fourth or fifth day. Sometimes the eruption is confined to the part which has come in contact with the plant, in other cases it is more general. Relief may be obtained by the application of cold or ice water, which should be long continued. A solution of acetate of lead (a poison if taken internally) used externally is also beneficial, but in very severe cases a physician should be consulted. Poisoning is most frequently caused by poison ivy, a woody vine growing in both dry and damp locations, and often climbing trees, and by poison or swamp dogwood, a shrub or small tree often found in swamps.

Poison ivy (Rhus Toxicodendron), also called poison oak, extends from Maine to British Columbia, southward to Utah in the West and Florida in the East. A woody vine, climbing by rootlets, but often a low shrub. It may be readily recognized by the smooth shining compound leaves consisting of 3 leaflets with entire edges. Poison dogwood (Rhus Vernix), also called poison elder, is a swamp shrub, sometimes becoming a small tree, and has also a very wide distribution throughout the eastern states, but it does not extend west of Minnesota. The compound leaves are pinnate with 6 to 12 leaflets with entire edges. The leafstalks are often red-colored. This species is more virulently poisonous than the preceding. Both plants have small yellowish green flowers in clusters which yield much nectar, and the well-ripened honey is apparently harmless. A surplus from this source in the East seems to be seldom obtained.

Rhus Metopium, coral sumac, poisonwood, doctor gum, is a tree 40 to 50 feet tall, growing commonly on the extreme southern part of Florida peninsula and on the Keys, but found as far north as Palm Beach. Its common names are very numerous and misleading. It is often (but erroneously) termed “manchineel,” from confusion with the tree of that name, which it closely resembles in many particulars; but it is more common than the real manchineel, which is far more poisonous. Both have an acrid sap which heightens the danger of confusion between them. The sap of R. Metopium is poisonous to a great many people, but it resembles poison ivy in being harmful only to certain skins.

Coral sumac, or poisonwood, yields honey of a high order and in great quantities. In some seasons the bees are said to go fairly wild with excitement over it.