Rhus lancea, African Rhus



Hazard Information

Route: Skin     Plant Part: All

Scale: Low

Blisters, rashes. Burning this plant can cause fatal reactions in the lungs if smoke is inhaled.


Latin Name

Rhus lancea



Evergreen, frost hardy, drought resistant tree, which can reach up to 8 metres in height with a 5 metre spread. It has a graceful, weeping form and dark, fissured bark that contrasts well with its long, thinnish, hairless, dark-green, trifoliate leaves with smooth margins. It bears small yellow flowers followed on female trees by bunches of small yellow-green flattish fruits.



All parts of this tree contain low levels of a highly irritating oil with urushiol (actually not a poison, but an allergen.


Skin reactions can include blisters and rashes. It spreads readily to clothes and back again, and has a very long life. Infections can follow scratching. As stated, this is an allergen, and the toxin will not affect certain people. The smoke of burning rhus lancia can cause reactions in the lungs, and can be fatal.

Flowering Period

Mid-Late spring


In Europe, America, Asia and Africa occurring in sub-tropical and warmer temperate regions