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Rhus chinensis - Mill.                
                 
Common Name Chinese Gall, Chinese sumac
Family Anacardiaceae
USDA hardiness 7-10
Known Hazards There are some suggestions that the sap of this species can cause a skin rash in susceptible people, but this has not been substantiated. See also notes in 'Cultivation Details'.
Habitats Lowland, hills and mountains in Japan[58]. Also found in the Himalayas (as R. semialata) where it grows in secondary forests to 2100 metres[146].
Range E. Asia - China, Japan.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Frost Hardy Moist Soil Full sun

Summary       

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of lolypop
Rhus chinensis is a deciduous Tree growing to 6 m (19ft 8in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 8 and is frost tender. It is in flower in August, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Bees.The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms
R. javanica. non L. R. osbeckii. R. semialata.
Rhus chinensis Chinese Gall, Chinese sumac


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:KENPEI
Rhus chinensis Chinese Gall, Chinese sumac
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:KENPEI
   
Habitats       
Woodland Garden Secondary; Sunny Edge;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Fruit;  Oil.
Edible Uses: Curdling agent;  Oil;  Salt.

Fruit - cooked[2, 146, 158, 183]. An acid flavour[2]. It is also used medicinally[2, 158]. The fruit can be used as a salt or a rennet substitute[105, 183].
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Anthelmintic;  Antiphlogistic;  Antiseptic;  Astringent;  Cholagogue;  Depurative;  Haemostatic.

The leaves and the roots are depurative[147]. They stimulate blood circulation[147]. A decoction is used in the treatment of haemoptysis, inflammations, laryngitis, snakebite, stomach-ache and traumatic fractures[147, 218]. The stem bark is astringent and anthelmintic[218]. The fruit is used in the treatment of colic[240]. The seed is used in the treatment of coughs, dysentery, fever, jaundice, malaria and rheumatism[218]. The root bark is cholagogue[218]. Galls on the plant are rich in tannin[279]. They are used internally for their astringent and styptic properties to treat conditions such as diarrhoea and haemorrhage[218, 279]. They are a frequent ingredient in polyherbal prescriptions for diabetes mellitus[218]. An excrescence produced on the leaf by an insect Melaphis chinensis or M. paitan (this report probably refers to the galls produced by the plant in response to the insect[K]) is antiseptic, astringent and haemostatic[176]. It s used in the treatment of persistent cough with blood, chronic diarrhoea, spontaneous sweating, night sweats, bloody stool, urorrhoea and bloody sputum. It is used applied externally to burns, bleeding due to traumatic injuries, haemorrhoids and ulcers in the mouth[176]. Some caution is advised in the use of the leaves and stems of this plant, see the notes above on toxicity.
Other Uses
Dye;  Ink;  Mordant;  Oil;  Tannin;  Wax.

The leaves are rich in tannin. They can be collected as they fall in the autumn and used as a brown dye or as a mordant[169]. A blue dye is obtained from insect galls on the plant[61], it can also be used as an ink[171]. The galls are formed as a result of damage by the greenfly, Aphis chinensis[223]. The galls contain up to 77% tannin[223]. The reports do not say if the galls are harvested before or after the insect has left the gall. An oil is extracted from the seeds[4, 146]. It attains a tallow-like consistency on standing and is used to make candles. These burn brilliantly, though they emit a pungent smoke[4]. The wood is soft and is not used[158].
Cultivation details                                         
Succeeds in a well-drained fertile soil in full sun[11, 200]. A very ornamental plant[11], it is not fully hardy in all parts of Britain and needs a hot summer in order to fully ripen its wood, suffering winter damage to late growth if the temperature falls below about -7°c[200]. The young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. The plants are also susceptible to coral spot fungus and any winter damage will exacerbate the situation[11]. Plants have brittle branches and these can be broken off in strong winds[200]. Many of the species in this genus are highly toxic and can also cause severe irritation to the skin of some people, whilst other species such as this one are not poisonous. It is relatively simple to distinguish which is which, the poisonous species have axillary panicles and smooth fruits whilst non-poisonous species have compound terminal panicles and fruits covered with acid crimson hairs[1, 4]. The toxic species are sometimes separated into their own genus, Toxicodendron, by some botanists[200]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in hot water (starting at a temperature of 80 - 90c and allowing it to cool) prior to sowing in order to leach out any germination inhibitors[200]. This soak water can be drunk and has a delicious lemon-flavour. The stored seed also needs hot water treatment and can be sown in early spring in a cold frame[200]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame[200]. Root cuttings 4cm long taken in December and potted up vertically in a greenhouse. Good percentage[78, 200]. Suckers in late autumn to winter[200].
Related Plants                                         
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Rhus ambigua 00
Rhus aromaticaLemon Sumach, Fragrant sumac42
Rhus copallinaDwarf Sumach, Winged sumac, Flameleaf Sumac, Winged Sumac, Shining Sumac42
Rhus coriariaElm-Leaved Sumach, Sicilian sumac21
Rhus diversilobaWestern Poison Oak, Pacific poison oak02
Rhus glabraSmooth Sumach43
Rhus integrifoliaLemonade Berry, Lemonade sumac20
Rhus microphyllaDesert Sumach, Littleleaf sumac20
Rhus ovataSugar Bush, Sugar sumac21
Rhus potaninii 02
Rhus punjabensis 32
Rhus punjabensis sinica 32
Rhus radicansPoison Ivy01
Rhus sempervirens 21
Rhus succedaneaWax Tree12
Rhus sylvestris 00
Rhus toxicodendronEastern Poison Oak02
Rhus trichocarpa 00
Rhus trilobataSkunk Bush, Basketbush, Squawbush, Three Leaf Sumac42
Rhus typhinaStag's Horn Sumach, Velvet Sumac, Staghorn Sumac42
Rhus vernixPoison Sumach01
Rhus wallichii 01
Rhus x pulvinata 42
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
Mill.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
1158200
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         
For a list of references used on this page please go here
Readers comment                                         
 
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