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Vick, Albert F. W.
Rhus copallinum L.
Winged sumac, Shining sumac, Flameleaf sumac, Mountain sumac, Dwarf sumac
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.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow , Green
Bloom Time: Jul , Aug
, WV Native Distribution:
to s. MI
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 ConditionsWater 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.
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:
PropagationDescription: 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
Mr. Smarty Plants says
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
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
Record Last Modified: 2013-09-07
Research By: TWC Staff