I am having difficulty in figuring of which family and
genus poison ivy belongs to presently. I have always found it as Rhus
radicans but have been researching it and more commonly have found it
under the listing of Toxicodendron radicans (L.) Kuntz. I know that
this means the nomenclature is from Linnaeus and modified by Kuntz. Has
the nomenclature been revised since I learned it as being Rhus radicans
and if so, when.
I thought that poison ivy belongs to the family Anicardiaceae, genus
Rhus, and species radicans. I am confused now and know of no sources
current enough to clarify my question.
If you could answer my question or refer me to a link that might be
helpful, I would appreciate the help.
The generally accepted classification for poison ivy:
species: Toxicodendron radicans (L.) Kuntze
It is based on the first name given it by Linnaeus in 1753:
Rhus radicans Linn.
Sp. Pl. 266. 1753.
Kuntze moved it to the genus Toxicodendron in 1891.
Toxicodendron radicans (L.) Kuntze in O. Ktze
Revis. Gen. Pl. 1: 153. 1891
There are occasionally individuals who use the older name.
Anthony R. Brach
I learned in forestry school in the 60's that poison ivy had been "moved"
from the genus Rhus to Toxicodendron, but when I began work as a naturalist
in Illinois a decade later all the references called it Rhus again. I do not
try to keep up with technical botany so can't tell you "which way the wind
is blowing." The family will be the same as sumac, at any rate. I don't have
any links at hand, but you might try the NRCS plant data base at
http://trident.ftc.nrcs.usda.gov/plants/, or the National Biological Survey,
they have a lot of this sort of thing. It just goes to show, even though
scientific nomenclature goes a long way to clearing confusion, people will
always find something to argue about.
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Update: June 2012