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Rhus copallinum

Phonetic Spelling
RHOOS koh-pahl-LIH-num
Description

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.

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

Site:  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.

Texture:  Medium to coarse

Form:  Compact and dense when young; becomes open, irregular with age; short trunk; crooked, spreading branches

Exposure:  Sun to partial shade; range of soil types

Cultivars:
Tags:
#butterflies#deciduous#fall color#birds#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#naturalize#low flammability#fire resistant
Cultivars:
Tags:
#butterflies#deciduous#fall color#birds#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#naturalize#low flammability#fire resistant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Rhus
    Species:
    copallinum
    Family:
    Anacardiaceae
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    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.
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    fire in the landscape.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 10 ft. 0 in. - 15 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 10 ft. 0 in. - 12 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Shrub
    Tree
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Spreading
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Red/Burgundy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Winter
    Fruit Type:
    Drupe
    Fruit Description:
    Berry-like drupes which ripen in autumn gradually turning maroon-brown as they persist through much of the winter. Greenish white flowers in upright cluster; conical cluster of dark red small fruit
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Description:
    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.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    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.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Brown
    Surface/Attachment:
    Smooth
    Bark Description:
    Its bark is smooth and light brown with numerous lenticels when young.  Large, thin scales develop as the tree ages.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Songbirds