Rhus glabra, the smooth sumac,[1] (also known as white sumac, upland sumac, or scarlet sumac)[2] is a species of sumac in the family Anacardiaceae, native to North America, from southern Quebec west to southern British Columbia in Canada, and south to northern Florida and Arizona in the United States and Tamaulipas in northeastern Mexico.

Rhus glabra
Rhus glabra AR.jpg
Rhus glabra flowers
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Anacardiaceae
Genus: Rhus
Species:
R. glabra
Binomial name
Rhus glabra
Rhus glabra range map 4.png
Natural range of Rhus glabra

One of the easiest shrubs to identify throughout the year (unless mistaken for poison sumac, in the absence of mature fruit), smooth sumac has a spreading, open-growing shrub growing up to 3 m (9.8 ft) tall, rarely to 5 m (16 ft). The leaves are alternate, 30–50 cm (12–20 in) long, compound with 11–31 oppositely paired leaflets, each leaflet 5–11 cm (2–4 14 in) long, with a serrated margin. The leaves turn scarlet in the fall. The flowers are tiny, green, produced in dense erect panicles 10–25 cm (4–10 in) tall, in the spring, later followed by large panicles of edible crimson berries that remain throughout the winter. The buds are small, covered with brown hair and borne on fat, hairless twigs. The bark on older wood is smooth and grey to brown.

Fruit

In late summer it sometimes forms galls on the underside of leaves, caused by the parasitic sumac leaf gall aphid, Melaphis rhois. The galls are not harmful to the tree.

UsesEdit

Native Americans ate the young sprouts as a salad.[3] The fruit is sour and contains a large seed, but can be chewed (to alleviate thirst) and made into a lemonade-like drink. Deer forage the twigs and fruit.[4]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Rhus glabra". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  2. ^ "American Sumac". USDA Department bulletin. 706. 1920. Retrieved 30 April 2017.
  3. ^ Little, Elbert L. (1980). The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees: Eastern Region. New York: Knopf. p. 549. ISBN 0-394-50760-6.
  4. ^ Little, Elbert L. (1994) [1980]. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees: Western Region (Chanticleer Press ed.). Knopf. p. 519. ISBN 0394507614.

External linksEdit