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Wasowski, Sally and Andy
Rhus ovata S. Wats.
Sugar sumac, Sugarbush
USDA Symbol: RHOV
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
Sugar sumac is an evergreen shrub with large, bright-green, leathery leaves and dense, white flower clusters. Berries are reddish and sticky. Evergreen shrub or small tree with rounded crown. The plant grows to 6 ft. tall.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Shrub Leaf Retention: Evergreen Leaf Arrangement: Alternate Leaf Complexity: Simple Leaf Shape: Ovate Leaf Margin: Entire Leaf Texture:
Leathery Size Notes:
to 15 feet. Leaf:
Shiny green above, pale below. Flower:
Red. 1/8 inch. Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May
AZ , CA Native Distribution:
Baja & s. CA, usually away from coast, to c. AZ Native Habitat:
Slopes; mesas; chaparral; 3000-5000 ft. USDA Native Status: L48(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Dry soils.
Conditions Comments: Extremely drought-tolerant. Somewhat fire-proof if given a once/month watering in the summer. Sumac colonies are often single-sexed, formed from a single, suckering parent. Only female plants produce flowers and berries.
Sometimes planted for erosion control and landscaping in mountainous areas, this common species is also an attractive ornamental which can be sheared. Use Wildlife:
Food for many upland gamebirds, songbirds, large and small mammals. Use Food:
The edible fruit
with thin pulp is sweet and was used as a sweetener by Indians; however, the large seeds are not eaten. Attracts:
Treated seed and root cuttings are used for increase. Seed Treatment:
Soak in tap
water 24 hours and immediately sow the seeds that swell. Boil the rest in water and cool immediately. Commercially Avail:
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
- Santa Barbara, CANative Seed Network
- Corvallis, OR
Recommended Species Lists
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Record Modified: 2009-02-20
Research By: TWC Staff