rhus trilobata

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Shrub in Sumac family with fuzzy leaves and branches, clusters of white-yellow flowers on spikes, which become red, sticky berries. Raw fruit can be soaked in water to make lemonade or mushed into porridge. Fruit tea is used to rub on head to prevent hair loss. Berries chewed for mouth, teeth and breath problems, as well as gastro-intestinal issues. Whole plant is astringent. Bark chewed or brewed for colds, infections. Root and leaf tea used as contraceptive, deodorant and disinfecting douche. Leaves have three leaflets like small oak leaves and smell bad when crushed (hence the name “Skunk Brush”. Leaves resemble poison oak, but poison oak is a vine, not a bush and has white berries.
Edible Plant Guide © 2012 Markus Rothkranz