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Rhus glabra

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Plant types and subtypes: Trees & Shrubs, Shrubs, Trees, Shrub-like Trees, Deciduous

Light Requirements: sun, part-sun, part-shade

Water Use: low

Soil Moisture: dry, moist

Soil Description: neutral, average, poor, loam, clay, sand, gravel/rock

Height: 5'-15'

Bloom Time: May, June, July

Bloom Color: yellow, green

Leaf Color: green

Hardiness Zone: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Additional Tags: attracts bees, attracts birds, attracts butterflies, berries, colonizing, drought tolerant, fall interest, naturalizing, ornamental foliage

Rhus glabra (smooth sumac)
  • Rhus glabra (smooth sumac)
  • Rhus glabra (smooth sumac)
  • Rhus glabra (smooth sumac)
  • Rhus glabra (smooth sumac)

Pricing & Availability

Description

Rhus glabra

Also known as:

smooth sumac

,

Scientific Synonyms:

Rhus borealis, Rhus calophylla

Description

Rhus glabra is a deciduous shrub that grows to a height of 15'. Though individual trunks are unbranched, its suckering habit will create a full, dense appearance. It produces large, dense flower clusters, however, they are somewhat inconspicuous due to their greenish color. In fall, these are followed by equally large clusters of bright red, attractive berry-like drupes that will persist well into winter. The compound leaves are large, and produce exceptional fall color ranging from bright orange, to deep burgundy. Only the female plants bear fruit.

Cultivation

Smooth sumac is very easy to grow, and adaptable to most well drained soils, including poor and depleted ones. The preference is full sun, but it will tolerate some open shade. It can spread rapidly by suckers, forming large dense thickets and large colonies, and should be planted in an area where it has ample room to grow. It can be cut back hard to control, rejuvenate, and to promote a dense appearance. Zones 3-8

Propagation

Collected seeds will require scarification and cold stratification. It can be propagated by root cuttings in fall, or by transplanting suckers when plants are dormant.

Additional Notes

This shrub is unparalleled for its wildlife value. The pollen and nectar to multitudes of pollinating insects, and the fruit provide food for a wide variety of birds during winter when very little else is available. Rhus glabra is the only tree or shrub, native to all 48 contiguous states.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:
AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY

Classification

Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons
Subclass Rosidae
Order Sapindales
Family Anacardiaceae Sumac family
Genus Rhus sumac
Species Rhus glabra smooth sumac