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Rhus typhina

Rhus typhina L.

Datisca hirta L.

Rhus hirta (L.) Sudw.

Rhus typhina L. var. laciniata Alph. Wood

Staghorn 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
Speciestyphina

About plant names...

Staghorn sumac is native to eastern North America.

Staghorn sumac is a very common plant in its range, often visible on roadsides, at the boundaries of yards, in disturbed or poor soils. The aphid galls on some of these photos are fairly uncommon, and they are definitely not fruits. Aphids secrete chemicals that cause the plant to create a custom aphid nursery.

Identification: Staghorn sumac is a small tree, commonly 10' (3 m) tall, up to 30' (9.1 m). Leaves up to 24" (60 cm) long are composed of serrated leaflets 3-5" (7.6-12 cm) long. Younger stems and branches are very hairy, mature ones are not. Flowers are greenish-white, not very conspicuous. The fruits are dense, dark red conical clusters, pointed on the top, velvety-looking, 8-10" (20-25 cm) long. These are easily visible from a distance, remaining on the tree throughout the winter in many cases, making this a strong identifying feature. In the fall, the foliage is bright orange-red.

Edibility: The red sumac fruits can be made into a cold drink, similar to pink lemonade.[1][2] (Staghorn sumac’s relative, poison sumac, is extremely dangerous, sort of poison ivy on steroids. But its berries are white, hanging in small groups, so these plants can’t be confused.)

Online References:

Rhus typhina on Missouriplants.com

Rhus typhina on the Countryside & Small Stock Journal

Rhus typhina on Erv Evans' site at the North Carolina State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Rhus typhina at the North Dakota State University Agriculture and University Extension

Rhus typhina on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants

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

Rhus typhina on Erv Evans' site at the North Carolina State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Rhus typhina at the University of Connecticut Plant Database

Rhus typhina at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

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

Rhus typhina in Paghat's Garden

References:

Peterson, Lee Allen, Peterson Field Guides: Edible Wild Plants of Eastern/Central North America, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1977, p. 186

Rhus typhina (Staghorn Sumac)

7/18/2010 · Great Brook Farm State Park, Carlisle, MA
≈ 6 × 9" (14 × 22 cm)

Rhus typhina (Staghorn Sumac)

9/18/2009 · Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, ME
≈ 22 × 15" (56 × 37 cm)

Rhus typhina (Staghorn Sumac)

8/7/2009 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 21 × 14" (52 × 34 cm)

Rhus typhina (Staghorn Sumac)

Male flowers. · 6/22/2016 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA

Rhus typhina (Staghorn Sumac)

6/19/2011 · NJ
≈ 7 × 11" (18 × 27 cm)

Rhus typhina (Staghorn Sumac)

11/17/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 4½ × 3" (11 × 7.9 cm)

Rhus typhina (Staghorn Sumac)

Berries can last all winter. · 11/29/2008 · Yellow Trail from Pearl Hill State Park to Willard Brook State Park, Ashby, MA
≈ 3 × 2' (1 × 0.7 m)

Rhus typhina (Staghorn Sumac)

7/31/2016 · Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park, VA

1See Peterson, Lee Allen, Peterson Field Guides Edible Wild Plants of Eastern/Central North America, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1977, p. 186

2Recipe is on countrysidemag.com

Rhus typhina description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 5 Oct 2016.

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Rhus typhina (Staghorn Sumac)

7/9/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 3½ × 5" (9.2 × 13 cm)

Rhus typhina (Staghorn Sumac)

Male flowers. · 6/21/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 10 × 15" (26 × 39 cm)

Rhus typhina (Staghorn Sumac)

7/15/2012 · Slipway Restaurant, Thomaston, ME
≈ 6 × 9" (15 × 23 cm)

Rhus typhina (Staghorn Sumac)

A broken branch · 8/8/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 6 × 7" (14 × 18 cm)

Rhus typhina (Staghorn Sumac)

9/18/2009 · Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, ME
≈ 7 × 4½" (17 × 11 cm)

Rhus typhina (Staghorn Sumac)

9/20/2009 · Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, ME
≈ 3½ × 2½' (1.2 × 0.8 m)

Rhus typhina (Staghorn Sumac)

Male flowers. · 6/21/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 5 × 3½" (13 × 9.2 cm)

Rhus typhina (Staghorn Sumac)

Aphid gall · 9/19/2009 · Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, ME
≈ 5 × 3½" (13 × 9.2 cm)

Rhus typhina (Staghorn Sumac)

Female flowers. · 9/20/2014 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA

Rhus typhina (Staghorn Sumac)

6/22/2016 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA

Range: Zones 3-9:

About this map...