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NPIN: Native Plant Database

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Rhus copallinum (Winged sumac)
Vick, Albert F. W.

Rhus copallinum

Rhus copallinum L.

Winged sumac, Shining sumac, Flameleaf sumac, Mountain sumac, Dwarf sumac

Anacardiaceae (Sumac Family)

Synonym(s): Rhus copallina

USDA Symbol: RHCO

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

Winged sumac is a large, deciduous shrub or small tree, 20-35 ft. tall, with short, crooked trunks and open branching. Glossy, dark-green, pinnately compound leaves turn reddish-purple in the fall. Yellowish-green flowers are succeeded by drooping, pubescent, pyramidal fruit clusters which turn dull red and persist through winter. It is easily distinguishable from other sumacs by the winged leaf axis and watery sap. Often forms thickets.

 

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Pinnate
Leaf Shape: Lanceolate
Leaf Margin: Entire
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Inflorescence: Panicle
Size Notes: 20-25
Leaf: Green
Autumn Foliage: yes
Fruit: Dark red. 1/8 inch long.
Size Class: 12-36 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow , Green
Bloom Time: Jul , Aug

Distribution

USA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MO , MS , NC , NE , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , TN , TX , VA , VT , WI , WV
Native Distribution: S. ME to s. MI & MO, s. to FL & e. TX
Native Habitat: Dry hillsides; open woods; prairies; thickets Found in scrub on limestone outcrops and rocky slopes, prairies, plains, and in sandy woodlands

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Rocky, poor soils.
Conditions Comments: Shining sumac is a very ornamental sumac. Because of its large, spreading habit, is not suited to small areas. Native sumacs are important wildlife plants, providing winter food for many upland gamebirds, songbirds, and large and small mammals. They are fast growing, generally pest and disease-free, and drought-tolerant. Colonies are often single-sexed, formed from a single, suckering parent. Only female plants produce berries, which are not as showy as those of R. typhina and R. glabra.

Benefit

Use Ornamental: Winged Sumac is sometimes planted as an ornamental for its shiny leaves and showy fruit.
Use Wildlife: Winter food for many upland gamebirds, songbirds, and large and small mammals. Wildlife eat the fruit, and deer also browse the twigs.
Use Food: The sour fruit can be nibbled or made into a drink like lemonade.
Attracts: Birds

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees
Special Value to Honey Bees
Provides Nesting Materials/Structure for Native Bees
Supports Conservation Biological Control

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

Propagation

Description: Plant scarified seed 1/3-3/4 in. deep. Easily transplanted by division of colony. Semi-hardwood cutting taken in summer or fall will root.
Seed Treatment: Acid scarification for one to two hours
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Plant identfication
October 21, 2009
Hi...Can you please identfy the tall, evergreen shrub with purple plum-colored foliage that I have noticed in winter locally?...Hope so, need he color! THX
view the full question and answer

National Wetland Indicator Status

Region:AGCPAKAWCBEMPGPHIMWNCNEWMVE
Status: UPL FACU UPL UPL UPL
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Suppliers Directory

According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:

American Native Nursery - Quakertown, PA

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Crosby Arboretum - Picayune, MS
Stengl Biological Research Station - Smithville, TX
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

Bibliography

Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 946 - Gardening with Prairie Plants: How to Create Beautiful Native Landscapes (2002) Wasowski, Sally
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski

Search More Titles in Bibliography

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1985 VOL. 2, NO.3 - Greenhouse Assists Research, Wild color on the Hills, Director's Report, Clearin...
Wildflower Newsletter 1989 VOL. 6, NO.5 - Educator\\\'s Native Plants Poster Perfected, Pass a Law, Protect a Tree, Resear...

Additional resources

USDA: Find Rhus copallinum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Rhus copallinum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Rhus copallinum

Metadata

Record Modified: 2013-09-07
Research By: TWC Staff

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