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(sumac), a genus of deciduous and evergreen plants of the family Anacardiaceae. The plants include trees, shrubs, and, less frequently, woody lianas. The monoecious or dioecious plants range in height from 0.5 to 12 m; some individuals reach 20 m in height. The alternate leaves are simple, ternate, or odd-pinnate. The numerous small flowers are unisexual or bisexual and gathered in inflorescences. There are five petals and five sepals. The fruit is a small drupe.
There are about 60 sumac species (according to other data, 250), distributed mainly in North America, Southwest and East Asia, Africa, and Europe. One species, R. coriaria, is found in the USSR, growing on arid rocky slopes of the lower and middle mountain zones in the Crimea, the Caucasus, the western Kopetdag, and the Pamirs. The species yields valuable tanning and dyeing agents. Many other sumac species are used as tanning, medicinal, or ornamental plants. A well-known species is staghorn sumac (R. typhina).
A number of species contain a poisonous juice that causes severe, painful burns; the juice is used in the preparation of highquality lacquers. Most of these species are classified in the separate genus Toxicodendron. The best-known are the East Asian T. verniciferum, which is the source of Japan wax, and T. vernix. In Japan a wax is obtained from the fruits of T. succedaneum.
T. G. LEONOVA