Rhus glabra - Smooth Sumac

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Butterfly FriendlyDeer ResistantPart Shade
Smooth Sumac
Rhus glabra

This spreading shrub, which typically grows 10-15' tall, spreads by root suckers to form large colonies in the wild. The foliage is shiny, dark green with almost a fern-like appearance. Prized for its attractive fall color in shades of bright orange to red in autumn. Tiny, yellowish-green flowers bloom in late spring to early summer. Female plants produce showy, red clusters of fruit. Sumac is a highly important winter food source for game birds, songbirds and a wide variety of other wildlife. Best when massed for stabilizing embankments or in naturalized areas where it is free to spread. 

Native to all of the lower 48 states
Attracts butterflies, host plant for hair streak butterfly
Prized for its orange and red fall color
The seeds is an important food source for birds
A superb choice for stabilizing embankments
Tolerant of dry, shallow, rocky soil

Native Range

Found along roadsides, in fields and wood borders.


Raw young sprouts were eaten by Native Americans. They also made a drink from the berries, found on female plants, that is similar to lemonade. The roots can be used to make a yellow dye.


Grow in average, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Tolerant of wide range of soils except those that are poorly drained.

Mature Size: 9-15ft. Tall x 9-15ft. Wide

Hardiness Zone: 3-9

Sun Exposure: Part Shade

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