Toxicodendron or Ipritka: how to plant and care in the open field

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Toxicodendron or Ipritka: how to plant and care in the open field
Toxicodendron or Ipritka: how to plant and care in the open field

Characteristics of the toxicodendron plant, how to plant and grow mustard in the garden, recommendations for reproduction, possible difficulties in leaving, interesting notes, types.

Toxicodendron (Toxicodendron) belongs to the Sumach family or as it is also called Anacardiaceae. In some sources, the plant is called Ypritka. The most famous representatives of this family are poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) and oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum), lacquer tree (Toxicodendron vernicifluum) and deer-horned sumac (Rhus typhina) or vinegar tree. It often happens that species of this genus are included in the genus Sumakh (Rhus), but after studies at the molecular level it has been proven that toxicodendrons should be isolated into a completely separate (so-called monophyletic) genus, simply having one common ancestor.

The natural area in which the mustard is found includes the territories of both continents of America, as well as Asian areas. According to the information provided by The Plant List database, the genus has about thirty species.


All types of toxicodendron contain such a substance as urushiol, which can provoke a strong allergic reaction.

Family name Sumach or Anacardia
Growing period Perennial
Vegetation form Tree, shrub or liana
Breeds Seed or vegetatively (cuttings or root shoots)
Open ground transplant terms From the second half of May
Landing rules Landing pit 50x50 cm
Priming Any well-drained
Soil acidity values, pH Any
Illumination level Well lit by the sun
Humidity level Watering is necessary only for young plants, adults are drought-resistant
Special care rules Periodic pruning of shoots to form a crown
Height options 3–20 m
Flowering period June July
Type of inflorescences or flowers Prefabricated racemose inflorescences
Color of flowers Greenish, yellow or yellow-orange
Fruit type Drupes gray or whitish
The timing of fruit ripening With the arrival of autumn
Decorative period Spring-summer
Application in landscape design As a decoration for pergolas and arches, pillars of arbors
USDA zone 4 and up

Toxikodendron is named after the combination of Greek words "toxikos" and "dendron", meaning "poison" or "poisonous" and "tree", respectively. All due to what substances are contained in all parts of the plant. Also, this representative of the flora owes its name to its name because of the probable occurrence of allergies and external similarity with other "green inhabitants" who are not even relatives of the mustard. So, for example, a poisonous oak has nothing to do with an ordinary oak, but its foliage resembles in outline the leafy plates of a white oak (Quercus alba), while poison ivy does not belong to ivy (Hedera), but resembles them in a vegetative form. And if we turn to the facts, the Toxicodendron species do not contain toxic substances in themselves, but they act as potential allergens.

All types of toxicodendron are perennials with a woody, shrub or liana-like vegetative form. If the plant has the shape of a liana, then its shoots are green in color; in a tree-like form, the bark has a grayish-brown color. Liana-shaped stems are able to twine around the support and rise to a considerable height of 3-4 m.Since the root system is characterized by branching, this allows the plant to root well and prevent the substrate from shattering, which is used in horticulture to strengthen embankments or slopes.

The foliage on the stems and shoots of the toxicodendron grows in the next order. The leaf plates acquire an ovoid shape, while the edge can be either even or have teeth or are divided into blades. Curiously, foliage of all three types can form on the same specimen. The number of formed leaf lobes can also vary within 7-13 units. The color of the deciduous mass in the summer months is usually green, but with the arrival of autumn days, the color changes to bright and serves as a decoration for the vines. This includes crimson or orange tones.

When toxicodendron blooms, prefabricated inflorescences are formed, in the form of pyramidal brushes, originating in the leaf sinuses. In this process, during June-July, small flowers are revealed, of a very nondescript appearance, greenish, yellowish-orange or yellow. The inflorescences do not go beyond 10–20 cm in length, their diameter will be 4–6 cm. The plant is monoecious, therefore, one specimen has only male or female flowers.

After pollination, toxicodendron from about September becomes the owner of many fruits in the form of drupes, which have a grayish or whitish color. Their shape is rounded with a slight flattening. The pulp inside the drupe is rather dry. The fruits remain on the branches of the mustard tree until spring.


All types of toxicodendron have the ability to secrete milky juice or a rather caustic resinous substance, which, falling on the skin, can cause irritation. When the colorful foliage and leaves are touched, the allergic reaction is so severe that it leads to anaphylactic shock, which can be fatal.

This is important to consider if, after all, a decision is made to grow toxicodendron in a personal plot. All operations are recommended to be performed with gloves and after the end, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. You should not plant such a plant if there are small children in the house who can feast on poisonous berries. It is important to note that the mustard is notable for its ease and unpretentiousness in care, but at the same time it can become an adornment of the personal plot.

Planting and caring for toxicodendron in the open field

Toxicodendron Leaves
  1. Landing place and it is recommended to open it, well lit from all sides by the rays of the sun. It is not necessary to place the toxicodendron near the groundwater table and where moisture can stagnate when snow melts.
  2. Priming anyone is suitable for planting toxicodendron, but the main thing is that it is well-drained, allowing moisture and air to pass to the roots. The acidity indicators are also not important here. When planting, the soil mixture is combined for better growth with half a bucket of well-rotted humus.
  3. Planting toxicodendron. For this, a well-developed plant should be chosen. A good time for planting is spring or early fall. As for the root growth, because of the weak root processes, they try to cut the seedling off the root system of the parent specimen quite deeply. For planting, you should dig a 50x50 cm depression for a large seedling, or so that the root system can easily fit into the hole without destroying the surrounding earthy coma. You need to pour a bucket of water into the planting hole so that the soil there is well moistened, and only then a mustard seedling is placed there. When planting, it is monitored so that the root collar of the plant remains at the same level as before. After planting, the soil in the near-stem circle should be carefully squeezed out to fill the air voids and water the seedling well.
  4. Watering when caring for toxicodendron, only young plants are needed, since adult specimens are highly drought-resistant.
  5. Fertilizers for the care of toxicodendron. The plant can perfectly do without fertilizing, but if the gardener provides the mustard with nutritious organic matter, then its growth will increase significantly. It will also help the seedling take root faster and shorten the adaptation time. Such a top dressing can be a solution of mullein, chicken droppings, you can prepare such organic fertilizers on ash or chopped weeds. In addition, a full mineral complex (for example, Kemiru-Universal) should be added once during the growing season when watering toxicodendron. If the dosage of nitrogen and mineral fertilizing is exceeded, then the plant may, on the contrary, slow down in growth.
  6. Pruning. Since some species of the genus, for example, such as the graceful toxicodendron, tolerate the shortening of branches very hard, such operations are not recommended. An exception is sanitary pruning in spring (removal of dried, frostbitten and broken branches during the winter). Since next to the maternal mustard plant, over time, dense growth occurs, growing and aggressively filling the adjacent territories, it is recommended to periodically remove it (uprooting all young shoots from the roots).
  7. General rules of care. The soil in the near-trunk circle is periodically loosened and dealt with together with weeding. But since the root system does not lie deep, it is done very carefully so as not to damage it. Since the plant is frost-hardy, it does not need shelter for the winter. With the arrival of spring days, when growing toxicodendron, it is recommended to remove by cutting all the shoots that have dried up during the winter and the ends of branches damaged by frost. It is regularly recommended to prune the crown of the shrub.
  8. The use of toxicodendron in landscape design. The plant as a perennial can be planted in any corner of the garden, both solo and in group plantings. With its glossy large leaves, mustard will always attract the eye, especially in the autumn period, when the color of the green deciduous mass changes to bright fiery or crimson. This is what should be taken into account when choosing a place for planting, so that the plant can decorate a bored look in the fall. Low-growing trees can be planted nearby. Since the root system of the toxicodendron is quite branched, the plant is often used to strengthen crumbling sand slopes. Moreover, such a representative of the flora will look great in a rockery or rock garden. All the beauty of the deciduous mass of mustard can be favorably emphasized by the neighborhood with conifers.

Read also about planting and caring for a skumpia outdoors.

Recommendations for the reproduction of toxicodendron

Toxicodendron in the ground

To get a young mustard plant, you need to sow seeds, root cuttings or plant root shoots.

Reproduction of toxicodendron using seeds

This method is rarely used as it is time consuming and expensive. This is because the seeds are covered with a rather thick and dense shell, it will take a very long time for the first sprout to break through in nature. Before sowing, it is recommended to carry out stratification - to keep the seeds for two months in conditions with a low temperature. Even if the sowing is carried out according to all the rules, the germination percentage is only 2 units. But, despite the thoroughness of the care, the grown toxicodendron plants will die off after 15–20 years.

To increase the germination of mustard seeds, the seeds can be soaked with sulfuric acid for about 50 minutes and then scalded with boiling water. If there is no experience with such robots, then it is better not to engage in such scarification. Often, the seeds are rubbed with sandpaper instead, but the embryo inside should not be damaged. Sowing is carried out in containers filled with a nutrient substrate (a mixture of equal parts of sand and peat).Seeds of toxicodendron are placed on the surface of the soil, and a thin layer of the same soil is poured on top. After that, spraying with warm water from a spray bottle is required.

To ensure high humidity conditions, a piece of glass is placed on top of the seed container or covered with plastic transparent film. When caring for toxicodendron crops, daily ventilation is required (no more than 10-15 minutes). Some gardeners sow mustard seeds in a dug hole 15–20 cm deep. The crops will appear above the soil surface after about a month.

When several true leaves unfold on the seedlings, a pick is made in separate pots with the same nutrient substrate and they are grown until the spring heat.

Reproduction of toxicodendron by root shoots

Over time, a large number of young stems appear next to the mother plant, originating from the rhizome. Such root shoots are perfectly rooting at a new location. In order to separate the young parts, they are cut off from the root system of the parent mustard with a well-sharpened shovel. They try to choose the most developed shoot. Since all the nutrition of the root shoots comes from the root system of the parent specimen, and there is none of its own, it is recommended to cut off the roots quite deeply. All sections must be sprinkled with crushed charcoal to avoid infection. After that, the toxicodendron seedling is planted in a new place according to the rules of the primary planting.

If planting is not carried out immediately (for example, after a few days or transportation will be carried out), then the root system of the seedling is wrapped in a well-moistened cloth. After that, the toxicodendron seedling is placed in a container filled with slightly moistened (in no case wet) wood chips or sawdust. Then the whole structure is wrapped in polyethylene. This will protect the root system from drying out for a week.

Reproduction of toxicodendron by cuttings

Blanks for rooting from this year's shoots are cut. It is important that there are dormant buds on the workpiece, then engraftment will be most successful. The cuttings are planted in containers in the nutrient soil and after engraftment, you can transplant to a prepared place in the garden in the spring.

Possible difficulties in caring for toxicodendron

Blooming Toxicodendron

Since all parts of the mustard plant are saturated with toxic substances, the plant is often not disturbed by harmful insects. However, if the humidity of the environment is quite high, it is rainy weather or the irrigation regime is violated, then the plant can be affected by fungal infections:

  • Powdery mildew characterized by the formation of a whitish coating, which resembles a lime mortar. This layer interferes with photosynthesis and "respiration" of the plant. This leads to yellowing of the leaves and the death of the toxicodendron.
  • Gray rot manifests itself in patches on stems or foliage, grayish formation, wet appearance and covered with fluffiness over time. In this case, the disease spreads quickly to all parts of the mustard and eventually it dies.
  • Root rot, in which foliage wilts, giving the impression of drought and lack of moisture. If you do not immediately identify the problem, but continue to moisten the soil in the same way as before, then death is inevitable. The disease can be identified by a thorough examination of the stems in the root zone. With root rot, the stem becomes dark and slimy.

To carry out measures to combat such fungal infections, it is recommended to remove all affected parts of the toxicodendron and perform treatment with fungicidal agents such as Fundazol, Scor or Bordeaux liquid. In case of root rot, the plant must be dug out of the soil, all weighed root shoots must be removed, the sections must be treated with crushed charcoal powder and sprayed with a fungicide.Then you need to transplant into disinfected soil and limit watering until the plant recovers from the disease.

Interesting notes about toxicodendron

Toxicodendron grows

Species that grow in Japan and China, as well as in some other Asian regions, are used due to the emitted resinous substance in the paint and varnish industry for the manufacture of varnish or as a by-product. Such species revealed varnish (Toxicodendron vernicifluum) and wax wood (Toxicodendron succedaneum). At the same time, drupes of both plants are used to make Japanese wax. Such varnish and wax are commonly used in traditional oriental crafts.

The plant today is poorly understood and, for example, about such a species as the rooting toxicodendron (Toxicodendron radicans) has overgrown with a large number of rumors that do not correspond to reality. It is reliable that, for example, poison ivy is characterized by the peculiarity of secreting milky juice, which has the ability to turn black in the open air. It is this substance that poses a great danger. This is because a dangerous component, the so-called toxicodendrolic acid, has been identified in the milky juice of mustard. If the juice gets on the skin, which is very typical in places of natural growth of poison ivy (for example, the North American continent), it often leads to poisoning and burns.

According to doctors, approximately 35% of the population are susceptible to toxicodendron acid, but in this way the body's defense system reacts to this dangerous substance, forming an appropriate reaction. So people with hypersensitivity of the skin develop severe dermatitis, which is very difficult to cure.

Types of toxicodendron

In the photo Toxicodendron rooting

Rooting Toxicodendron (Toxicodendron radicans)

got the name for its liana-like vegetative shape and the ability to spread shoots along the soil surface or twine around the trunks and branches of trees. This is facilitated by the appendages of the plant root system in order to successfully gain a foothold on the support. In nature, it grows in mountain forests at an altitude of 600-1600 (2200) m. Branches are brown, striped, at first glandular-pubescent. The leaves on them are arranged in the next order. The petiole is 5–10 cm, yellow, pubescent, directed upward.

The leaf blade of the toxicodendron is 3-lobed; lateral leaflets vary in shape from sessile to almost sessile, the outline takes on an oblong-ovate-elliptical shape. The size of the leaf lobes is 6-13x3-7, 5 cm. The base of the leaves is oblique, rounded, whole along the edges. At the same time, there is a pubescent petiole of 0.5–2 mm. Although in the summer the foliage decorating the shoots has a varnish surface and creates a beautiful openwork crown, with the arrival of autumn days it changes its color to crimson or orange-yellow.

The beginning of flowering in toxicodendron occurs at the end of May or June, while a paniculate inflorescence is formed, reaching 5 cm in length with yellowish-brown hairs. Flower bracts 2 mm, pubescent. Pedicel is also 2 mm covered with hairs. The color of the flowers is yellowish green. The calyx is glabrous, the lobes are ovoid, their length is 1 mm. Petals are oblong, measured 3 mm. The stamens in the flowers of the toxicodendron are equal in length to the petals; the threads are linear, 2 mm long. Anthers are oblong, reaching 1 mm.

As soon as September comes, fruits are formed in place of the inflorescences, collected in large bunches. The fruit is a drupe of a greenish shade obliquely ovoid. Its size is 5x6 mm. When the fruit is fully ripe, it becomes yellow in color.

In the photo Toxicodendron vernisiflum

Toxicodendron vernicifluum

or Lacquer wood… Natural growth occurs in mountain forests, distributed at an altitude of 800-2800 m in India, Japan, Korea. Represents deciduous trees up to 20 m tall; branches are yellowish-brown pubescent. Petiole 7–14 cm, swollen at the base, finely pubescent.The leaf blade is unpaired-pinnate-complex. Its length is 15–30 cm; there are 9-13 leaflets. The location of the lobes is opposite. Petiole 4–7 mm, pubescent. The outlines of the leaf lobes are ovoid, ovate-elliptical or oblong, with a size of 6–13 × 3–6 cm. The edge of the cast is solid, the apex is sharp. The leaf consists of 10-15 pairs of veins with protruding on both surfaces.

Toxicodendron vernisiflum blooms from May to June. Inflorescence paniculate, 15-30 cm, grayish-yellow, with fine pubescence, with thin branches. Pedicel is 1-3 mm, shorter and more robust in female flowers. The petals of the calyx are ovoid, 0.8 mm, the apex is obtuse, the surface is glabrous. Petals are yellowish-green, oblong, 2.5x1.2 mm in size, with a brown feather-like venation pattern. The stamens are 2.5 mm long; filaments as long as anthers, shorter in female flower. The anthers are oblong. Drupes ripen between July and October.

In the photo Toxicodendron oriental

Toxicodendron orientale

occurs under the name Eastern mustard… It looks like a shrub with creeping or climbing thin shoots. Their surface is painted in a light brown shade, on the surface there is a scattered reddish-hairy pubescence. The leaf plates have a triple-complex shape. The petioles are 4–6 cm long. The leaves on the sides are 8–12 cm long and 5–9 cm wide. Their outlines are ovoid-elliptical, unequal in shape, with a pointed apex.

At the base, the leaf is broadly wedge-shaped, the edge is solid, the surface of the leaves is bare. The color of the foliage of the toxicodendron of the eastern upper side is bright green, with a bluish-green back. On the reverse side along the veins, they are hairy or bare. Petioles of leaf lobes are 2–5 mm, covered with hairy pubescence. The upper leaf lobe is 11–18 cm long and 6–12 cm wide. They are isosceles and broadly, in rare cases, rounded-elliptical.

During summer flowering in the eastern toxicodendron, complex racemose inflorescences are formed in the leaf axils, reaching 7–12 cm in length, including the peduncle. Pedicels are 1–2 mm long, covered with weak hairs or practically bare. Flowers have 5 petals, their color is greenish-white. The sepals are 1–1.5 mm long, their shape is triangular-lanceolate, the surface is bare. The size of the petals is 2–4 mm long, the outlines are oblong.

After the pollination of the flowers occurs in late summer or early September, the fruits begin to ripen - drupes. Their length reaches 4–5 mm. The shape of the fruit of the eastern toxicodendron is ovoid or in the form of a ball, there is some flattening. The color of the berries is almost whitish, on the surface there is a pattern of 10 longitudinal veins of black color. Often, the berries remain on the branches until the next spring.

Toxicodendron oriental in nature grows in shrub thickets and cereal plantings. The first description was given in Japan, but the species can be found in the Far East of the Russian lands and Sakhalin.

Related article: Tips for planting and caring for kudzu outdoors

Video about texodendron and its use:

Photos of Texodendron:

Photo Toxicodendron 1 Photo Toxicodendron 2 Photo Toxicodendron 3 Photo Toxicodendron 4 Photo Toxicodendron 5

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