FloraFinder.org
Home   About Us   Want to Help?   FAQ  
Searching   Image Use Biblio

Rhus copallinum

Rhus copallinum L.

Rhus copallina L. orth. var.

Shining Sumac, Winged Sumac, Flameleaf Sumac

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae (from Stearn’s Botanical Latin)
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassRosidaeRoses, legumes, proteas, dogwoods, hydrangeas, mistletoes, euphorbias, grapes, many more
OrderSapindalesIncludes citrus; maples, horse-chestnuts, lychees and rambutans; mangos and cashews; frankincense and myrrh; mahogany and neem
FamilyAnacardiaceaeCashew or sumac family
GenusRhusFrom Greek rhous, ancient name for sumac
Speciescopallinum

About plant names...

Winged sumac is a North American native plant. Rhus is the ancient Latin name for sumacs, and copallinum means “gum copal,” because the dried sap resembles that of the copal tree. Sumac simply means “red,” probably a reference to the berry color of most sumacs.

Identification: Winged sumac is a shrub or small tree that can reach 20' (6.1 m) in height, and up to 10' (3 m) around. Shiny, pointed oval-shaped leaves occur in opposing pairs along branches. Leaves are 1-4" (2.5-10 cm) long. (Technically, the branch full of leaves is a single pinnately compound leaf, which is up to 12" (30 cm) long.) The most unusual feature of this plant is the “wings”—small, long “leaves” that grow along the branch, between each set of leaves. In the fall, leaves turn burgundy red. Young branches have fine, velvety reddish-brown hairs, but much less so than those of close cousin staghorn sumac. Broken branches have clear sap, while other sumacs have a sticky white latex. Flowers are a drab yellowish green. Fruits are dense clusters of bright red berries, which often last through the winter, turning a darker shade.

Edibility: Poisonous. Skull & Crossbones Okay, well, that isn’t actually true. It isn’t edible, but it isn’t dangerous. But be careful not to confuse winged sumac with poison sumac. If you think poison ivy or poison oak are bad, you don’t want to run into the much more toxic poison sumac, which some botanists consider the most poisonous plant in America. Poison sumac is relatively rare, and grows only in very wet areas. It lacks the wings of winged sumac and the fuzzy branches and toothed leaves of staghorn sumac.

Online References:

Rhus copallinum on Carolina Nature, from Will Cook

Rhus copallinum on Missouriplants.com

Rhus copallinum on FLORIDATA

Rhus copallinum at the Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation

Rhus copallinum at Illinois Wildflowers

Rhus copallinum on Wikipedia

Rhus copallinum on the USDA Forest Service's Fire Effects Information Database

Rhus copallinum at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Rhus copallinum at the Vanderbilt University Bioimages web site

Rhus copallinum (Shining Sumac, Winged Sumac, Flameleaf Sumac)

10/22/2009 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 4½ × 3" (11 × 7.9 cm)

Rhus copallinum (Shining Sumac, Winged Sumac, Flameleaf Sumac)

4/14/2015 · Pinelands, Everglades National Park, FL
≈ 8 × 6" (20 × 14 cm)

Rhus copallinum (Shining Sumac, Winged Sumac, Flameleaf Sumac)

10/22/2009 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 11 × 7" (27 × 18 cm)

Rhus copallinum (Shining Sumac, Winged Sumac, Flameleaf Sumac)

8/7/2009 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 24 × 16" (62 × 41 cm)

Rhus copallinum (Shining Sumac, Winged Sumac, Flameleaf Sumac)

8/7/2009 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 24 × 16" (62 × 41 cm)

Rhus copallinum description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 24 Aug 2013.

© FloraFinder.org. All rights reserved.


 

Rhus copallinum (Shining Sumac, Winged Sumac, Flameleaf Sumac)

8/7/2009 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 9 × 6" (22 × 14 cm)

Rhus copallinum (Shining Sumac, Winged Sumac, Flameleaf Sumac)

4/14/2015 · Pinelands, Everglades National Park, FL
≈ 8 × 6" (20 × 14 cm)

Rhus copallinum (Shining Sumac, Winged Sumac, Flameleaf Sumac)

8/23/2013 · Andres Institute of Art, Big Bear Mountain, Brookline, NH
≈ 9 × 6" (23 × 16 cm)

Rhus copallinum (Shining Sumac, Winged Sumac, Flameleaf Sumac)

8/23/2013 · Andres Institute of Art, Big Bear Mountain, Brookline, NH
≈ 11 × 7" (28 × 18 cm)

Rhus copallinum (Shining Sumac, Winged Sumac, Flameleaf Sumac)

8/7/2009 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 20 × 19" (51 × 49 cm)

Rhus copallinum (Shining Sumac, Winged Sumac, Flameleaf Sumac)

10/22/2009 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 12 × 8" (31 × 20 cm)

Rhus copallinum (Shining Sumac, Winged Sumac, Flameleaf Sumac)

9/14/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA
≈ 5 × 3½" (13 × 9.2 cm)

Rhus copallinum (Shining Sumac, Winged Sumac, Flameleaf Sumac)

8/23/2013 · Andres Institute of Art, Big Bear Mountain, Brookline, NH
≈ 1½ × 1½" (3.8 × 4 cm)

Rhus copallinum (Shining Sumac, Winged Sumac, Flameleaf Sumac)

4/14/2015 · Pinelands, Everglades National Park, FL
≈ 9 × 6" (23 × 16 cm)

Rhus copallinum (Shining Sumac, Winged Sumac, Flameleaf Sumac)

9/14/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA
≈ 12 × 8" (31 × 20 cm)

Rhus copallinum (Shining Sumac, Winged Sumac, Flameleaf Sumac)

8/7/2009 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 24 × 16" (62 × 41 cm)

Range: Zones 5-11:

About this map...