Please submit a search term.

Rhus copallinum

Common Name(s):
Dwarf sumac, Flameleaf sumac, Shining sumac, Winged sumac
Native Plants, Shrubs, Trees

Rhus copallinum, commonly called dwarf sumac, flameleaf sumac, winged sumac and shining sumac, is a multi-stemmed, deciduous shrub that is native to eastern North America from New York to Alabama and Florida. It is a deciduous shrub or small tree which occurs in dryish soils on hillsides, open woods, glades, fields and along the margins of roadsides, railroad tracks and roads.  It is a large open shrub which typically grows to 10' tall (rarely to 30' as a tree) and spreads by root suckers to form large colonies in the wild. 

It is very similar to smooth sumac (Rhus glabra), except (a) leaflets are untoothed and (b) leaf midribs have leafy ridges or wings that give rise to another common name of winged sumac for this plant.

Its bark is smooth and light brown with numerous lenticels when young.  Large, thin scales develop as the tree ages.

Regions:  Mountain, Piedmont, Coastal plains

Seasons of Interest: 

  Leaf:  Fall                   Blooms:  Summer/late summer            Nut/Fruit/Seed:  Fall/winter

Wildlife Value:   This plant is moderately resistant to damage from deer.  It is a host plant for the Red-Banded Hairstreak caterpillar.  Butterflies nectar at the flowers.  Its fruits are eaten by songbirds, white-tailed deer, opossums, wild turkey, and quail.  Its bark is eaten by rabbits.

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems: No serious insect or disease problems. There is some susceptibility to leaf spots, rusts, scale, aphids, and mites. It tends to spread aggressively by root suckersI

10-15 ft.
The Winged sumac has tiny, greenish-yellow flowers that bloom in terminal pyramidal panicles in late spring to early summer, with separate male and female flowers usually occurring on separate plants (dioecious). Pollinated female flowers produce showy fruiting clusters (to 8" long). Each cluster contains numerous hairy, berry-like drupes which ripen in autumn, gradually turning maroon-brown as they persist through much of the winter.
4 to 9
The Winged sumac is easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. It is tolerant of a wide range of soils except for those that are poorly drained.
Medium to coarse
Compact and dense when young; becomes open, irregular with age; short trunk; crooked, spreading branches
Sun to partial shade; range of soil types
Greenish white flowers in upright cluster; conical cluster of dark red small fruit
10-12 ft.
The Winged sumac has large, alternate, compound, odd-pinnate leaves (each with 9-21 untoothed, oblong-lanceolate, shiny dark green leaflets). The leaves turn flame red in autumn.
naturalize, deciduous, drought tolerant, birds, butterflies, good fall, wildlife

NCCES plant id: 543

Rhus copallinum Rhus copallinum
John Lills, CC BY-NC-ND - 4.0
Rhus copallinum Rhus copallinum
John Lills, CC BY-NC-ND - 4.0
Rhus copallina Berries
John Lills, CC BY-NC-ND - 2.0
Rhus copallina Fall color, pinnately compound leaves
Philip Bouchard, CC BY-NC-ND - 4.0
Rhus copallina Fall color
Philip Bouchard, CC BY-NC-ND - 4.0