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You are here >1Up Info > Wildlife, Animals, and Plants > Plant Species > Shrub > Species: Toxicodendron diversilobum | Poison-Oak
 

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VALUE AND USE

SPECIES: Toxicodendron diversilobum | Poison-Oak
WOOD PRODUCTS VALUE : NO-ENTRY IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Black-tailed deer and all classes of livestock browse poison-oak [53]. It is the most important black-tailed deer browse in some areas of California [5,6]. Birds eat poison-oak fruits [53]. PALATABILITY : Poison-oak palatability is rated good to fair for horses and deer; and fair to poor for cattle, sheep, and goats [53]. NUTRITIONAL VALUE : Percent crude protein in poison-oak foliage collected throughout California averaged 24.2 in March, 20.6 in May, 10.1 in July, and 6.5 in September [5]. Poison-oak is relatively high in phosphorus, sulfur, and calcium as compared to other browse species [24]. The following mineral content (percentage basis) was reported for the foliage [54]: Ca P K Mg S 1.00 0.23 1.13 0.59 0.19 COVER VALUE : The federally endangered least Bell's vireo uses poison-oak for nest sites in oak woodlands [25]. Fremont cottonwood (Populus fremontii)/poison-oak woodlands contribute to bird diversity and density in California [28]. A rare colony of ringtail was found inhabiting a Fremont cottonwood/poison-oak woodland on the Sacramento River [3]. VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : Poison-oak has been recommended for use in restoration projects. Information on propagation and handling methods to "minimize risks" to planting crews is available [23]. Having worked on field crews in the Sierra Nevada foothills, however, this author recommends using native shrubs other than poison-oak for restoration. OTHER USES AND VALUES : Urushiol has been found to mediate DNA strand scission. This activiity may have application in DNA sequence studies [70]. Native Americans used the stems to make baskets and the sap to cure ringworm [15,60]. Chumash Indians used poison-oak sap to remove warts, corns, and calluses; to cauterize sores; and to stop bleeding. They drank a decoction made from poison-oak roots to treat dysentery [60]. MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Safety/Medical: The entire poison-oak plant is covered with oily resin. Human dermatitis results when skin comes in direct contact with the oil, either by touching the plant or touching something that has contacted it, such as clothing or firewood. Urushiol is the poison present in the oil [46]. Poison-oak does not cause dermatitis in wildlife or livestock, but pets may react to it [53]. (See FIRE MANAGEMENT.) American folklore holds that drinking the milk of poison-oak-fed goats bolsters the immune system against poison-oak because the poison is present in the milk in trace amounts. Drinking the milk probably does not grant immunity, however. Analysis of milk from does fed a straight poison-oak diet for 3 days showed no trace of urushiol. Some urushiol was present in the does' urine, but most was apparently catabolized [40]. Control: Poison-oak is controlled by glyphosate, triclopyr, or 2,4,5-T. Used alone, 2,4-D is ineffective. Goats are an effective biological control [40,50]. Other: Poison-oak vines sometimes kill their support plant by smothering or breaking it [46]. Poison-oak iblossoms are a source of good quality honey [46].

Related categories for Species: Toxicodendron diversilobum | Poison-Oak

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Information Courtesy: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory. Fire Effects Information System

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