Marcus, Joseph A.
Rhus lanceolata (Gray) Britt.
Prairie flameleaf sumac, Flame-leaf sumac, Prairie sumac, Lance-leaf sumac
Anacardiaceae (Sumac Family)
Prairie Flameleaf Sumac is a thicket-forming, small, deciduous tree
to 30 ft. in height, but usually no taller than 20 ft. Pyramidal panicles of red, fall fruit
follow white, summer blossoms. Pinnately-compound foliage becomes vivid red or orange in fall.
from southern Oklahoma through north, central, and west Texas to New Mexico and south to Puebla in Mexico, the limestone-loving Prairie Flameleaf Sumac is relatively fast growing, generally pest- and disease-free, and heat-, cold-, and drought-tolerant. Flameleaf is a perfect
description of this trees outstanding, orange and red, autumn foliage, but its pale trunk and branches, green summer leaves, and pyramidal clusters of red fall fruit
are also noteworthy. Though it may sucker from the base to form a colony, it is not as likely to aggressively colonize as the more easterly Shining Sumac (Rhus copallinum
). Like the very different-looking Evergreen
Sumac (Rhus virens
), Prairie Flameleaf Sumac produces berries that, when soaked in water, make a tart, tasty, high-Vitamin C tea.
Image Gallery: 31 photo(s) available
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Tree Leaf Retention: Deciduous Leaf Arrangement: Alternate Leaf Complexity: Pinnate Leaf Shape: Lanceolate Leaf Venation: Pinnate Leaf Pubescence: Glabrous
, Pilose Leaf Margin: Entire Breeding System:
, Monoecious Inflorescence: Panicle Size Notes:
12-30 ft, but normally around 15-20 ft. Leaf:
Shiny green above, pale below. Autumn Foliage:
Panicles 4-6 inches long
Dark red 1/8 inch long Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Yellow , Green
Bloom Time: Jul , Aug
Bloom Notes: color normally yellowish green or white
NM , OK , TX Native Distribution:
Southern Oklahoma south through north-central, central, and west Texas, west to New Mexico, and south to Puebla Native Habitat:
Rocky, limestone hillsides and grasslands USDA Native Status: L48(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low , Medium
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Alkaline (pH>7.2)
Drought Tolerance: High
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Rocky, calcareous, well-drained limestone soils, including clays, loams, and sands. Usually in calcareous rocky soils and clays.
Conditions Comments: Will be less likely to sucker and colonize if left undisturbed. Overly rich soil can cause fusarium wilt when the plant is young.
Provides accent texture and vivid fall color as well as hardiness and easy maintenance. It is an excellent, relatively fast growing landscaping choice because of its ornamental fruits and fall foliage. Use Wildlife:
Birds, especially bobwhites, grouse, and pheasants, consume quantities of the fruit
in winter, and deer browse the foliage. Use Food: Fruit
soaked in water used to make a lemony drink similar to a diluted lemonade, sometimes called sumac-ade. Use Other:
The leaves contain tannin and have been used in tanning leather. Conspicuous Flowers:
Birds , Butterflies Larval Host:
Red-banded Hairstreak, Banded Hairstreak Deer Resistant:
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
is a larval host and/or nectar source for: