winged sumac
Rhus copallinum L.
  • ALTERNATE COMMON NAME: shining sumac
  • LEAVES: deciduous, alternate, once odd-pinnately compound, 6-12” long, with 9-23 leaflets; rachis leafy-winged; leaflets 1.5-4” long by 0.75-1.3” wide, margins usually entire
  • FLOWER: functionally unisexual, plants dioecious; flowers ca 0.3” broad with 5 spreading greenish-white petals; flowers arranged axillary panicles on the current season’s growth, in some instances many nodes on a new shoot can be inflorescence-bearing, or only one or a few nodes may bear panicles
  • FRUIT: dull red semi-globular to somewhat asymmetric drupe, to ca. 0.2” broad; mature fruiting panicles drooping
  • TWIGS: stout, shaggy-pubescent with tawny hairs when young, pubescence sloughing over time and older twigs glabrous; leaf scars obcordate; pith light brown and continuous; sap watery, clear
  • BARK: thin, smooth, reddish brown, with numerous roundish or horizontally elliptical slightly raised lenticels
  • FORM: colony-forming freely branching shrub or small tree, to ca. 25’ tall
  • HABITAT: edges of mixed woods, old fields, fencerows, roadsides, utility corridors
  • WETLAND DESIGNATION: Obligate Upland (UPL): Almost never occurs in wetlands of the Atlantic and Gulf Coast Plain Region
  • RANGE: eastern US [USGS Range Map]
  • USES: ornamental; mature fruits taste like sour lemon and can be steeped to make a lemonade-like beverage
  • WILDLIFE: fruits provide winter sustenance for various birds; moderate whitetail deer browse
  • Best Recognition Features:
    1. shrub to small tree with conspicuous lenticels
    2. once-pinnate leaves with leafy-winged rachis
    3. mature fruiting panicles drooping