Rhus glabra Smooth Sumac
The Missouri and Illinois native shrub Smooth Sumac, Rhus glabra, brings interesting colorful foliage and flowers to the landscape. A spreading shrub, it typically grows 8-15′ tall and wide, and spreads by root suckers to form thickets. Its large, shiny, dark green leaves (each with 9-27 leaflets) grow to 18″ long with a fascinating fern-like appearance. The foliage turns to brilliant shades of bright orange to red in autumn. In late spring to early summer tiny, yellowish-green flowers bloom in terminal panicles (5-10″ long), with separate male and female flowers appearing on separate plants (dioecious). Female plants produce fluffy 8″ pyramidal fruiting clusters. Each cluster contains numerous berry-like drupes which ripen red in autumn, gradually turning maroon-brown as they persist through most of the winter. Fruit is attractive to wildlife, especially birds and butterflies.
Plant in sun to part shade