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Rhus microphylla Engelm. ex A. Gray
Littleleaf Sumac, Desert Sumac, Correosa, Agritos
Anacardiaceae (Sumac Family)
USDA Symbol: RHMI3
USDA Native Status: L48 (N)
Little-leaf sumac is a much-branched, deciduous shrub, 4-15 ft. tall, with small, pinnate leaves composed of tiny, leather, shiny leaflets. Axillary and terminal clusters of white flowers, which appear before the leaves, are followed by 2-4 in. clusters of orange-red berries. Flowers and fruits are usually not very numerous. Fall color is muted rose and purple.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Pinnate
Leaf Shape: Elliptic
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Dioecious
Fruit Type: Drupe
Size Notes: Up to about 15 feet tall, usually much shorter.
Leaf: Dull green above, pale below.
Flower: Flowers in 4 inch clusters.
Fruit: Orange-red. 1/4 inch.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink , Green
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May
DistributionUSA: AZ , NM , OK , TX
Native Distribution: W. TX to AZ & adjacent Mex.
Native Habitat: Dry, scrubby uplands; open, alkali flats; thickets; desert plains & mesas
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Sandy or rocky soils. Limestone-based, Caliche type Sandy Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam Clay
Conditions Comments: Native sumacs make attractive specimen, hedge or background plants and are important wildlife plants. 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 flowers and berries.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Grows in clumps, Fruits ornamental, Fall conspicuous
Use Wildlife: Winter food for many upland gamebirds, songbirds, and large and small mammals. Fruit-birds, Fruit-mammals, Browse
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Value to Beneficial InsectsSpecial Value to Native Bees
Provides Nesting Materials/Structure for Native Bees
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
PropagationDescription: Scarified and stratified seed planted 1/3-3/4 in. deep and rooted semi-hardwood cuttings are used for increase.
Seed Treatment: Acid scarification for one hour followed by stratification at 41 degrees for 30-60 days.
Commercially Avail: yes
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Sibley Nature Center - Midland, TX
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
Herbarium Specimen(s)NPSOT 0905 Collected Jun 25, 1994 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe
BibliographyBibref 355 - Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest (1991) Miller, G. O.
Bibref 995 - Native Landscaping from El Paso to L.A. (2000) Wasowski, S. and A. Wasowski
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender
Bibref 297 - Trees of Central Texas (1984) Vines, Robert A.
Bibref 286 - Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country (1989) Enquist, M.
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter
Webref 1 - Texas Native Shrubs (2002) Texas A&M University Agriculture Program and Leslie Finical, Dallas Arboretum
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Rhus microphylla in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Rhus microphylla in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Rhus microphylla
MetadataRecord Modified: 2022-10-20
Research By: TWC Staff