Fragrant Sumac, Rhus aromatica

Fragrant Sumac

Rhus aromatica

Benefits: Pollinator Benefit Graphic
Sun Shade: Plant Light Requirements Graphic
Bloom Time: Spring
Hardiness Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Soil Conditions: Loam
Soil Moisture: Dry, Medium
Color: Yellow
Fragrance: Yes
Height: 2-6 feet
Spacing: 6-10 feet

Fragrant Sumac, Rhus aromatica, is a deciduous native shrub which occurs in open woods, glades and thickets. A dense, low-growing, rambling shrub which spreads by root suckers to form thickets in the wild. Typically grows 2-4 feet tall and spreads to 10 feet wide. Trifoliate, medium green leaves turn attractive shades of orange, red and purple in autumn. Leaves and twigs are aromatic when bruised (hence the species name). Although smaller, the leaves resemble in appearance those of the related poison ivy However fragrant sumac is a totally non-poisonous plant. Tiny yellow flowers bloom at the twig tips in early spring before the foliage. Separate male flowers (in catkins) and female flowers (in clusters) appear on the same plants (monoecious) or, more commonly, on different plants (dioecious). Male catkins form in late summer and persist throughout the winter until eventually blooming in spring. Female flowers give way in late summer to small clusters of hairy, red berries which may persist into winter. The root system consists of a woody branching taproot.

Habitats include thinly wooded bluffs, upland rocky woods, barren rocky areas, limestone glades, sandy savannas, sand prairies, and sand dunes. Aromatic Sumac is often cultivated as an ornamental shrub in yards or along buildings and city streets.

Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Tolerant of wide range of soils except those that are poorly drained.

 Plant Notes and Herbal Uses
  Good for stabilizing embankments or for hard-to-cover areas with poorer soils or for wild parts of native plant gardens or naturalized areas.
  Fruit is attractive to wildlife.
 Further Information

 Wisconsin Fruit Trees
 Wisconsin Edible Berry Shrubs
 Widsconsin Edible Plants-Eat On The Wild Side
 8 Dandelion Recipes
 Wisconsin Native Plant Nurseries

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