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Searsia lancea (African Sumac)

African Sumac, Willow Rhus, Black Karee, Rhus lancea

Searsia lancea, African Sumac, Willow Rhus, Black Karee, Rhus lancea, Evergreen Trees, Yellow Flowers
Searsia lancea, African Sumac, Willow Rhus, Black Karee, Rhus lancea, Evergreen Trees, Yellow Flowers

Native to South Africa, Searsia lancea (African Sumac) is a small to medium-sized evergreen tree with a rounded, wide spreading canopy and gracefully weeping foliage. Multi- or single-stemmed, it produces an abundance of alternate and spirally arranged lanceolate leaves, 4 in. long (10 cm), in clusters of three. The fine textured foliage of smooth, leathery leaves is dark olive-green above and slightly paler underneath. The leaves exude a resinous fragrance when crushed. Sweetly scented, inconspicuous greenish yellow flowers borne in dense, terminal clusters give way to clusters of edible green berries that ripen to brown and are borne on female plants. Birds feast on the fruits. In older trees the trunk is often twisted and the dark brown bark becomes rough and irregularly fissured over time. Tolerant of heat, aridity, poor soils, drought and salty conditions, African Sumac is a great choice for arid or coastal gardens. Low maintenance, it makes an excellent shade tree and can be used as a windbreak.

  • Grows up to 20-30 ft. tall and wide (6-9 m). Adds 24 in. per year (60 cm). African sumac is a moderately rapid grower, however, its growth rate and mature size are directly related to water availability.
  • Performs best in full sun or part shade, in dry to moist, alkaline, well-drained soils. African Sumac is adapted to normal winter rainfall and low amounts of summer irrigation. Drought tolerant once established. Fertilize with a slow-release fertilizer once per year in the spring just before new growth begins.
  • Keep an eye out for root rot and verticillium.
  • Prune to establish and maintain an upright and arborescent crown architecture. Prune while it is dormant during the winter months.
  • Propagate by seeds.
  • Native to South Africa.

Requirements

Hardiness 9 - 11
Climate Zones 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Trees
Plant Family Anacardiaceae
Genus Rhus
Common names African Sumac
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 20' - 30'
(6.1m - 9.1m)
Spread 20' - 30'
(6.1m - 9.1m)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low, Average
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen
Tolerance Drought, Salt
Attracts Birds
Garden Uses Hedges And Screens
Garden Styles Coastal Garden, Informal and Cottage
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Rhus typhina (Staghorn Sumac)
Rhus copallinum (Winged Sumac)
Rhus aromatica (Fragrant Sumac)
Rhus trilobata (Skunkbush Sumac)
Rhus glabra (Smooth Sumac)
Rhus ovata (Sugar Sumac)

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Small Trees and Shrubs That Attract Birds
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 9 - 11
Climate Zones 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Trees
Plant Family Anacardiaceae
Genus Rhus
Common names African Sumac
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 20' - 30'
(6.1m - 9.1m)
Spread 20' - 30'
(6.1m - 9.1m)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low, Average
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen
Tolerance Drought, Salt
Attracts Birds
Garden Uses Hedges And Screens
Garden Styles Coastal Garden, Informal and Cottage
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Explore Great Plant Combination Ideas
Rhus (Sumac)
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Rhus (Sumac)
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