Rhus copallinum

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 2 Professionals
Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: winged sumac
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Anacardiaceae
Native Range: Eastern United States
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 7.00 to 15.00 feet
Spread: 10.00 to 20.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to August
Bloom Description: Greenish
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Good Fall
Attracts: Birds
Tolerate: Rabbit, Drought, Erosion, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil

Culture

Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Tolerant of a wide range of soils except for those that are poorly drained.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Rhus copallinum, commonly called dwarf sumac, flameleaf sumac, winged sumac and shining sumac, is a multi-stemmed, deciduous shrub that is native to eastern North America from New York to Alabama and Florida. It is a deciduous shrub or small tree which occurs in dryish soils on hillsides, open woods, glades, fields and along the margins of roadsides, railroad tracks and roads throughout most of the central and southern parts of the State. It is a large open shrub which typically grows to 10' tall (rarely to 30' as a tree) and spreads by root suckers to form large colonies in the wild. It is very similar to smooth sumac (Rhus glabra), except (a) leaflets are untoothed and (b) leaf midribs have leafy ridges or wings that give rise to another common name of winged sumac for this plant. Large, compound, odd-pinnate leaves (each with 9-21 untoothed, oblong-lanceolate, shiny dark green leaflets). Leaves turn flame red in autumn. Tiny, greenish-yellow flowers bloom in terminal pyramidal panicles in late spring to early summer, with separate male and female flowers usually occurring on separate plants (dioecious). Pollinated female flowers produce showy fruiting clusters (to 8" long). Each cluster contains numerous hairy, berry-like drupes which ripen in autumn, gradually turning maroon-brown as they persist through much of the winter. Fruit is attractive to wildlife.

Genus name comes from the Greek name for one species, Rhus coriaria.

Specific epithet means gummy or resinous.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Some susceptibility to leaf spots, rusts, scale, aphids and mites. Tends to spread aggressively by root suckers.

Garden Uses

Best for dry, informal, naturalized areas where it can be allowed to spread and form colonies. effective when massed on slopes for erosion control or in hard-to-cover areas with poorer soils. Naturalize in open woodland areas, wood margins or wild areas. Has some nice ornamental features (flower panicles in spring, shiny dark green summer foliage, fruiting clusters in fall and excellent fall foliage color), but is probably too weedy and aggressive for shrub borders or foundations.