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Rhus integrifolia (Lemonade sumac)
Wasowski, Sally and Andy

Rhus integrifolia

Rhus integrifolia (Nutt.) W.H. Brewer & S. Watson

Lemonade Sumac, Lemonadeberry

Anacardiaceae (Sumac Family)


USDA Symbol: RHIN2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

A wide-spreading, rounded, evergreen shrub to 8 ft., or more, inland and sometimes only 2 ft. on the ocean. Leaves are shiny, dark-green, leathery and aromatic. Small, pink flowers occur in dense, hairy clusters and are followed by reddish berries. Evergreen, aromatic, rounded, thicket-forming shrub; rarely a small tree with a short, stout trunk and many branches.


From the Image Gallery

1 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Elliptic
Leaf Margin: Denticulate , Entire
Leaf Texture: Leathery
Fruit Type: Drupe
Size Notes: Tends to grow upright inland, 10-30 feet tall. Sprawls next to beaches where it may be only 2 feet tall.
Leaf: Shiny green above, pale below.
Fruit: 1/2 inch diameter.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Feb , Mar , Apr , May


Native Distribution: S. CA to adjacent Mex.
Native Habitat: Ocean bluffs, canyons & dry places below 2500 ft.

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Dry soils.
Conditions Comments: This species is often used for erosion control. It is generally disease free and fairly fire proof if given a once/month watering during the summer. Sumac colonies are often single-sexed, formed from a single, suckering parent. Only female plants produce flowers and berries.


Use Ornamental: Can be sheared.
Use Wildlife: The fruit is consumed by roadrunners and many upland gamebirds, songbirds, large and small mammals.
Use Food: As the common name implies, a sour, refreshing drink can be made from the acid fruit.
Attracts: Birds


Description: Treated seed and root cuttings are used for increase.
Seed Treatment: Scarification in hot water is necessary. For maximum germination, soak in concentrated H2SO4 4-6 hours.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

From the National Organizations Directory

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

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR


Bibref 995 - Native Landscaping from El Paso to L.A. (2000) Wasowski, S. and A. Wasowski

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
Webref 37 - Calscape (2019) California Native Plant Society

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2022-10-20
Research By: TWC Staff

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