Rhus glabra: smooth sumac

Family: Anacardiaceae [cashew, pistacio], part of the sapindoid group.

Form: small tree with pinnate leaves and compact colonies with dividing rhizomes; stems up to 10-15 feet tall; plants mostly male or female.

Range: widespread across North America except arid regions; across Kentucky, but most common in Bluegrass.

Habitat: woodland edges, thickets and old fields; soils moderately moist, generally rather rich; may suppress grasss and forbs through toxins.

Consumers: small sour (citric) berries usually prolific in dense clusters, gradually eaten by birds in fall-winter, but often infested with pests; shoots and leaves palatable to some browsers; vigorous plants usually lack serious damage from pests or diseases.

Growing notes: seed germination varies, promoted after one or two winters, acid-treatment or heat; plants may be carefully dug and divided.

Smooth Sumac leaves
Smooth sumac leaves. Image: https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/rhus-glabra/


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