Rhus glabra (Smooth sumac)

Deciduous thicket-forming shrub to small tree up to 20 ft. tall with deep red berry clusters and branched greenish flowers, blooming April to October. Common and widely distributed, adapted to shallow to moderately deep, dry to moist, coarse or variably textured soils of open woodlands, prairies, rocky hillsides, canyons, roadsides, waste places and old fields; up to 7,500 ft. elevation. Prairie invader and pioneer species after disturbance, vigorously resprouting from rhizomes after wildfire; excellent for erosion control. Also used in landscaping and for hedges for its brilliant red fall foliage. Provides valuable cover for wildlife and its fruits are food for hundreds of bird species. Retains its berries for much of the winter which are important for ruffed grouse and sharp-tailed grouse. Nectar and pollen source for numerous native bees, flies, wasps, and butterflies.

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Family: Anacardiaceae

Duration: Perennial

Growth Habit: Shrub/tree

Native Status: Native

Growth Form: Rhizomatous

Mature Height: 12 ft.

Bloom Color: Yellow

Fruit/Seed Color: Brown

Bloom Period: Mid spring

Annual Precipitation: 30-60 in.

Drought Tolerance: Medium

Shade Tolerance: Intolerant

Elevation: 5,000-7,500 ft.

Wetland Indicator Status

Fire Resistance: No

Fire Tolerance: High

Nitrogen Fixation: None


Coarse Texture: Yes

Medium Texture: Yes

Fine Texture: No

Salinity Tolerance: Medium

CaCO3 Tolerance: Low

pH Range: 5.3-7.5


Seeds per Pound: 75,000

Seeding Rate:  PLS lbs/acre

Season: Fall

Days to Germination: