Fungal and animal associates of Toxicodendron spp. (Anacardiaceae) in North America
Biological control, Ecology, Poison ivy, Poison oak
Toxicodendron spp. (Anacardiaceae; the poison ivies, oaks, and sumacs) are regarded by some as noxious, tenacious weeds in forests, grasslands, and waste places across the United States, despite playing numerous important ecological roles. Biological control of Toxicodendron spp. is a virtually unexplored option for ecosystem managers. The purpose of this review is twofold: (1) to synthesize and consider what is known about the biological relationships of Toxicodendron spp. from an ecological standpoint; and subsequently (2) to consider these associations from a managerial standpoint. Fungal, arthropodal, mammalian, and avian relationships are detailed, and their potential utility as biological control agents for Toxicodendron spp. are evaluated based on effectiveness, selectivity, practicality, and indirect or side effects. Fungi, and to a lesser extent arthropods, represent the most feasible agents for Toxicodendron spp. biological control.