Family: Anacardiaceae – Cashew Family
Dioecious shrubs; 3.9” to 11.8” (1 to 3 dm) tall or more
Leaves: alternate; compound; 3 leaflets; the terminal leaflet is 0.8” to 4.4” (2 to 11 cm) long, 0.6” to 4” (1.5 to 10 cm) wide; can have hairs
Flowers: 5 whitish to yellowish petals with dark veins, 0.08” to 0.12” (2 to 3 mm) long; 5 sepals; stamens usually 5 or 10; flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant)
Pollinators: other genera in this family are pollinated by insects (specifically bees)
Fruits: cream to yellow drupes
Blooms in Arches National Park: May, June
Habitat in Arches National Park: riparian communities
Location seen: Fiery Furnace, outside Arches National Park in Negro Bill Canyon
Other: The genus name, “Toxicodendron”, means “poison tree” and the species name, “rydbergii”, honors Per Axel Rydberg (1860-1931), a plant taxonomist and the first curator of The New York Botanical Garden Herbarium whose specialty was the flora of the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains areas.
Caution: Rubbing against this plant can produce severe dermatitis in sensitive people. All the parts, including smoke from fires containing it, should be avoided by everyone.
Did You Know?
Lizards, including the colorful collared lizard, are one of the most frequently seen animals at Arches. When not chasing flies or basking in the sun, they are often seen doing what appears to be push-ups. This odd dance might enhance their stereoscopic vision, helping them see what's looking back at them.