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Plant Families / Rhus - Sumacs


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Rhus - Sumacs

Rhus (Sumac) can be deciduous or evergreen shrubs or trees of great ornamental value. Often noted for their terrific fall color, they produce showy clusters of berries (on female plants) that birds love. Tough, drought tolerant, easy to grow, Sumacs tolerate a wide range of soils, as long as they are well-drained. Depending on size, they can be used as ground covers, in shrub borders or massed in naturalized areas.

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Rhus aromatica (Fragrant Sumac)

Noted for its aromatic foliage, attractive berries, and glorious fall colors, Rhus aromatica (Fragrant Sumac) is a dense, sprawling, deciduous shrub with lower branches that turn up at the tips. Native to North America, it is dioecious with separate male and female plants. The male plants produce yellow catkins while the female plants boast clusters of tiny yellow flowers in spring.

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Rhus copallinum (Winged Sumac)

Ornamental with its shiny foliage and showy fruit, Rhus copallinum (Winged Sumac) is a colony-forming, deciduous shrub or small tree of large, open, and spreading habit. Native to the eastern U.S., Winged Sumac is dioecious with separate male and female plants. Showy feathery panicles of tiny pale yellow flowers, 4-8 in. across (10-20 cm), appear in mid to late summer. The pollinated female flowers are followed by conspicuous clusters of hairy, red berries in early fall which persist throughout the winter.

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Rhus glabra (Smooth Sumac)

Flamboyant in autumn, Rhus glabra (Smooth Sumac) is an open, spreading, deciduous shrub with nice ornamental features. Its foliage of shiny, deeply dissected, fern-like, deep green leaves, 18 in. long (45 cm), turns brilliant shades of red and orange in fall. Its strong architectural form and elegant silhouette are revealed in winter after the leaves are gone.

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Rhus ovata (Sugar Sumac)

Beautiful year round, Rhus ovata (Sugar Sumac) is a rounded, evergreen shrub or small tree with stout reddish twigs clothed with large, ovate, lustrous dark green leaves, 3 in. long (7 cm), slightly folded at the midrib. The foliage alone makes it worth planting.

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Rhus trilobata (Skunkbush Sumac)

Noted for its 3 seasons of interest, Rhus trilobata (Skunkbush Sumac) is an upright arching deciduous shrub forming rounded, moundlike, or upright thickets. Native to most of western North America, it produces female or male plants. In spring, before the foliage emerges, male plants feature inconspicuous catkins while female plants boast clustered spikes of creamy yellow flowers. The pollinated female flowers are followed by edible, hairy, red berries in summer, which persist through fall and winter.

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Rhus typhina 'Dissecta' (Cut-Leaf Staghorn Sumac)

Award-winning Rhus Tiphina 'Dissecta' is an open, spreading, deciduous shrub or small tree with nice ornamental features. Its foliage of large, deeply dissected, fern-like, bright green leaves, 2 ft. long (60 cm), turns brilliant shades of red, orange, and yellow in fall.

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Rhus typhina (Staghorn Sumac)

Prized for its spectacular fall foliage and showy fruits, Rhus typhina (Staghorn Sumac) is a large suckering deciduous shrub or small tree with picturesque branches and velvety reddish-brown branchlets. The foliage of large, pinnate, bright-green leaves, 24 in. long (60 cm), turns striking shades of orange, yellow and scarlet in fall.

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Rhus typhina Tiger Eyes® ('Bailtiger')

Award-winning Rhus Tiphina Tiger Eyes® is a real standout! Changing with every season, the cut-leaf foliage of this deciduous, suckering shrub emerges chartreuse in spring, matures to bright yellow in the summer, and eventually acquires striking orange and scarlet tones in fall. The leaves contrast extremely well with the purplish branches and stems. Cone-shaped panicles of green-yellow flowers bloom in early summer, followed on female plants by dark red fruit in fall.

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Searsia lancea (African Sumac)

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.

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