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
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
Pricing & Availability
Rhus glabraAlso known as:
Rhus borealis, Rhus calophylla
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.
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
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.
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
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
|Species||Rhus glabra||smooth sumac|