Rhus typhina 'Dissecta'
Common Name: staghorn sumac 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Anacardiaceae
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 10.00 to 25.00 feet
Spread: 15.00 to 25.00 feet
Bloom Time: July
Bloom Description: Greenish-yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Good Fall
Attracts: Birds
Fruit: Showy
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Rabbit, Drought, Erosion, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil, Black Walnut


Easily grown in average, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Tolerant of a wide range of soils except for those that are poorly drained. Generally tolerant of urban conditions. This is a suckering shrub that will form thickets in the wild via self-seeding and root suckering.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Rhus typhina, commonly called staghorn sumac, is the largest of the North American sumacs. It is native to woodland edges, roadsides, railroad embankments and stream/swamp margins from Quebec to Ontario to Minnesota south to Georgia, Indiana and Iowa. This is an open, spreading shrub (sometimes a small tree) that typically grows 15-25’ tall. It is particularly noted for the reddish-brown hairs that cover the young branchlets in somewhat the same way that velvet covers the horns of a stag (male deer), hence the common name. It is also noted for its ornamental fruiting clusters and excellent fall foliage color. Large, compound, odd-pinnate leaves (each to 24” long) are bright green above during the growing season and glaucous beneath. Leaves turn attractive shades of yellow/orange/red in autumn. Each leaf has 13-27 toothed, lanceolate-oblong leaflets (each to 2-5” long). Tiny, greenish-yellow flowers bloom in terminal cone-shaped panicles in late spring to early summer (June-July), with male and female flower cones primarily occurring on separate plants (dioecious). Female flowers produce showy pyramidal fruiting clusters (to 8” long), with each cluster containing numerous hairy, berry-like drupes which ripen bright red in autumn, gradually turning dark red 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 like the genus Typha (cattail plant) in reference to the velvety young branches.

Staghorn sumac is also sometimes commonly called velvet sumac, fuzzy sumac and hairy sumac.

'Dissecta' is a large, open, spreading shrub or small tree which typically grows 9-15' tall (less frequently to 25') and spreads aggressively by root suckers to 15-20' wide or more. Large, deeply dissected, compound pinnate, bright green leaves (13-27 leaflets) grow to 2' long with a fern-like appearance and turn attractive shades of orange, yellow and red in autumn.


Some susceptibility to leaf spots, rusts, powdery mildew, blister and cankers. Scale, aphids and caterpillars may appear. Watch for mites. Species plants may spread aggressively by root suckers.

'Dissecta' tends to be quite an aggressive spreader.


Best when massed for stabilizing embankments or for hard-to-cover areas with poorer soils or for naturalizing in wild areas. Has some nice ornamental features (ferny foliage, hairy stems, fruiting clusters and fall foliage), but is probably too weedy and aggressive for shrub borders.