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Rhus glabra

Common Name(s):

  • Smooth Sumac
Phonetic Spelling
RHOOS GLAY-brah
Description

Rhus glabra, commonly called smooth sumac, is a deciduous shrub which occurs on prairies, fields, abandoned farmland, clearings and along roads and railroads throughout the State. It is a large, open, irregular, spreading shrub which typically grows 8-15' tall and spreads by root suckers to form thickets or large colonies in the wild. It is very similar to staghorn sumac (R. typhina), except the young stems of staghorn are densely pubescent whereas those of this species are smooth, hence the common name. The bark is smooth and light brown with numerous lenticels when young.  Large, thin scales develop as the tree ages.

It can be rejuvenated by cutting to the ground every few years.  Smooth sumac is acolony forming shrub.  

Regions:  Mountain, Piedmont, Coastal plains

Seasons of Interest: 

  Leaf:  Fall                   Blooms:  Summer/late summer            Nut/Fruit/Seed:  Late summer/fall

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

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems: No serious insect or disease problems. It has some susceptibility to leaf spot, rust, scale, aphids and mites. Tends to spread aggressively.

Cultivars:
  • 'Laciniata'
Tags:
#native#butterflies#deciduous#birds#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#showy#winter interest#good fall#low flammability#fire resistant
Cultivars:
  • 'Laciniata'
Tags:
#native#butterflies#deciduous#birds#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#showy#winter interest#good fall#low flammability#fire resistant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Rhus
    Species:
    glabra
    Family:
    Anacardiaceae
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    fire in the landscape.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Shrub
    Tree
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    White
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Orange
    Hairs Present:
    No
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Theme:
    Winter Garden
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Songbirds