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Flameleaf Sumac Rhus copallinum

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
RHOOS koh-pahl-LIH-num
Description

Winged Sumac is a native deciduous shrub or small tree that is found in Central and Eastern USA and all areas of NC. It spreads by root suckers to form large colonies and is an important winter food source for many birds and mammals. Summer flowers are in dense panicles from July to September. The central stem of the compound leaves has a distinctive wing between the leaflets. The leaves have an excellent red fall color.  Drupes appear in fall and persist into winter. Shrubs are usually separate male and female plants so both are needed for fruit set.

Winged Sumac does best in moist to dry fertile soils but is tolerant of a wide range of soil types including poor ones except for wet sites. Full sun is best as it is not very shade tolerant.

This shrub could be used as a hedge in an area where it can spread. Otherwise, it is best used in naturalized areas for wildlife value but where the fall color can be enjoyed or on slopes for erosion control where it will spread by suckers.

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

 

 

Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Creel's Quintet'
    Dwarf female variety
Tags:
#deciduous#fall color#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#weedy#native shrub#slopes#food source#low flammability#NC native#fire resistant#naturalizes#naturalized area#larval host plant#food source winter#food source fall#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#food source soft-mast fruit#coastal UPL#fruits#bird friendly#butterfly friendly#FACU Piedmont Mountains
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Creel's Quintet'
    Dwarf female variety
Tags:
#deciduous#fall color#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#weedy#native shrub#slopes#food source#low flammability#NC native#fire resistant#naturalizes#naturalized area#larval host plant#food source winter#food source fall#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#food source soft-mast fruit#coastal UPL#fruits#bird friendly#butterfly friendly#FACU Piedmont Mountains
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Rhus
    Species:
    copallinum
    Family:
    Anacardiaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Root Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central and Eastern USA and parts of Canada
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    It is a host plant for the Red-Banded Hairstreak caterpillar.  Butterflies and bees nectar at the flowers.  Its fruits are eaten by songbirds, white-tailed deer, opossums, wild turkey, and quail.  Its bark is eaten by rabbits.
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Wildlife Food Source
    Wildlife Larval Host
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    fire in the landscape. Heat and drought tolerant.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 7 ft. 0 in. - 15 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 10 ft. 0 in. - 20 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Rounded
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    High
    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 Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Red/Burgundy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Winter
    Fruit Type:
    Drupe
    Fruit Description:
    Clusters of 1/4 inch dark red drupes that are covered with short hairs. Each drupe contains a smooth stone and persists through the winter, gradually becoming black.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Star
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    1/8 inch greenish-yellow flowers with 5 petals in terminal 3-6 inch panicles from July to September. Often occurs as separate male and female plants (dioecious).
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Large compound, odd-pinnate leaves up to 12 inches long with 9-21 oblong-lanceolate, shiny dark green leaflets up to 4 inches long. Margins are entire, base rounded and apex sharply pointed. Central leaf stalk is winged between the leaflets. Undersides paler with a few hairs. The leaves turn flame red in autumn.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Brown
    Surface/Attachment:
    Scaly
    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 Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Buds:
    Hairy
    Stem Form:
    Zig Zags
    Stem Leaf Scar Shape:
    C-shaped, Cresent shaped
    Stem Lenticels:
    Conspicuous
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Stem is speckled with lenticels and covered with fine, velvety, reddish-brown hair. Buds are small, rounded and hairy, leaf scars u-shaped.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Naturalized Area
    Slope/Bank
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Hedge
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Erosion
    Fire
    Poor Soil
    Problems:
    Weedy