Rhus copallinum - Shining Sumac

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Full SunPart ShadeButterfly FriendlyDeer ResistantBird FriendlyFall Color
Shining Sumac
Rhus copallinum

Shining sumac is a large, spreading shrub with a great deal of ornamental value. Light green flower clusters are a nice contrast to the deep green foliage in mid-summer. The nectar and pollen attract butterflies and other beneficial insects.  Female plants produce showy red fruits in clusters up to 8” long. In autumn this sumac really shines with stunning fall color in shades of orange and scarlet. Birds and other wildlife enjoy the seeds. Best used for massing or for stabilizing embankments in difficult sites with poor soil. Also great for naturalizing in wild areas. Give this plant plenty of room. 

  • Summer flowers provide nectar and pollen for butterflies and bees
  • The red fruit is relished by songbirds and other wildlife
  • Absolutely stunning fall foliage in shades of orange to scarlet
  • Fast-growing, generally pest and disease-free, drought-tolerant
  • Great for massing, the woods edge and in naturalistic areas

Native Range

Found on dry hillsides, open woods, limestone outcrops, rocky slopes, prairies, plains, and in sandy woodlands.


Sumac-ade or Indian lemonade -  Both Native Americans and early colonists used this native plant to create a refreshing, pink lemonade. Place a gallon of water in a large bowl, add 10-12 berry clusters and gently break them apart. Cover the bowl and let steep in the sun for several hours. Strain the liquid through cheesecloth. Sweeten to taste with honey.



Grow in average, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Tolerant of a wide range of soils except those that are poorly drained. This plant needs room to grow. It is not a great choice for small gardens. 


Mature Size: 20-30ft. Tall x 20-30ft. Wide

Hardiness Zone: 4-9

Sun Exposure: Full Sun to Part Shade

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