Himalayan Poison Oak
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Himalayan Poison Oak
D Native Photo: Ashutosh Sharma
Common name: Himalayan Poison Oak • Nepali: चोसी Chosee, ठूलो भलायो Thoolo Bhalaayo
Botanical name: Toxicodendron wallichii    Family: Anacardiaceae (Cashew family)
Synonyms: Rhus wallichii

Himalayan Poison Oak is a tree up to 15 m. Branches are sparse, robust, coated in rusty velvet-hairs, ridged, with prominent leaf scars. Young stems and immature leaves are densely woolly. Leaves are 20-60 cm long, imparipinnate, leaflets 7-15, ovate-oblong, 2.7-24 x 0.4-1.8 cm, upper surface dark green, lower surface pale green and with rusty tomentum, margins entire, tip tapering; axis woolly, without wings; leaf-stalk distinct, 8-20 cm long. Flowers are borne in leaf-axils or in branch-end panicle, densely woolly, much shorter than the leaves. Flowers are insignificant, dirty white. Fruit a spherical drupe, 5-7 mm long, rusty, woolly. Himalayan Poison Oak is found in the Himalayas, from Garhwal to Bhutan, in Mountain forests, at altitudes of 1950-2800 m. Flowering: May-November.
Medicinal uses: The juice of the leaves is a corrosive agent that causes blistering.

Identification credit: Ashutosh Sharma Photographed in Kullu District, Himachal Pradesh.

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