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Prairie Sumac Rhus lanceolata


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Prairie Sumac
© Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

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Alternate name: Prairie Flameleaf Sumac, Texan Sumac, Lanceleaf Sumac

Family: Anacardiaceae, Cashew view all from this family

Description Deciduous thicket-forming shrub, frequently single-trunked and tree-shaped. May sucker from the base to form a colony. Pinnately-compound summer leaves green, becoming vivid red in fall. Trunk and branches pale. Blossoms white.

Dimensions Height: 7.6 m. (25 ft.)
Diameter: 15 cm. (6 in.).

Habitat Scrub, shrub & brushlands, Grasslands & prairies.

Range Plains, Texas, Southwest.

Discussion Prairie Flameleaf Sumac produces berries that, when soaked in water, make a tart, tasty, high-Vitamin C tea. Flameleaf is the perfect description of this trees outstanding, orange and red, autumn foliage.

Comments Prairie flameleaf sumac does not have the aggressive of smooth sumac. It makes an attractive specimen, hedge or background plant and is an important food source for bees, mammals, and several bird species. Sumacs are fast growing, generally pest and disease-free, and drought-tolerant. Colonies are often single-sexed, formed from a single, suckering parent. Only female plants produce flowers and berries.

Exposure Preference Sun to partial shade.

Native Distribution N.c. Texas & adjacent Oklahoma, s. to Edwards Plateau & w. to New Mexico

Site Preference Rocky hillsides

Soil Preference Rocky, limestone soils.

Wildlife Value Provides food for bees, mammals and several bird species.