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sumac family

the sumac family of flowering plants in the order Sapindales, with about 70 genera and 650 species of evergreen or deciduous trees, shrubs, and woody vines. It is native to tropical and subtropical areas of the world, but a few species occur in temperate regions. Members of the family have resin ducts in the bark, leaves usually composed of leaflets in various arrangements, flowers often with only male or female parts, and usually fleshy fruits. The pistachio (Pistacia vera) and cashew (Anacardium occidentale) produce edible nuts, and mango (Mangifera indica), mombin (Spondias), and wild plum, or Kaffir plum (Harpephyllum caffrum), have edible fruits. The mastic tree (Pistacia lentiscus) and the varnish tree (Rhus vernicifera) contain useful oils, resins, and lacquers. The reddish brown wood of quebracho trees (genus Schinopsis, especially S. lorentzii) yields commercial tannin. The Peruvian pepper tree (Schinus molle), Cotinus species, and several species of sumac (Rhus) are cultivated as ornamentals. Poison ivy, poison oak (see ), and poison sumac (all Toxicodendron, or, according to some authorities, Rhus) are irritating to the skin

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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