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Rhus microphylla (Littleleaf sumac)
Flaigg, Norman G.

Rhus microphylla

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

19 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
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 Information

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


USA: 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 Conditions

Water 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.


Use 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


Description: 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 Directory

According 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
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX

Herbarium Specimen(s)

NPSOT 0905 Collected Jun 25, 1994 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe

1 specimen(s) available in the Digital Herbarium


Bibref 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 Reference

Webref 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 resources

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


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

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