Staghorn Sumac

Botanical Name: Rhus typhina

Other Common Names: Velvet Sumac, Staghorn Sumac

Brief Description and Notes: These are small shrubs with notable velvety twigs, pinnately-compound serrated leaves, and unmistakable pyramidal clusters of red berries. These standout red clusters will persist through winter. Fast-growing native plant that offers year-round interest and edible portions. It does spread itself easily, so only plant it if you want lots of it!

 

Where To Look For It: Dry wastelands, disturbed meadows, roadsides/forest edges; can tolerate shade but prefers sun

Ornamental Value: Winter interest, compact form, stunning red berries, antler-like shape of trunks and stems. 

Ecological Value & Roles: Food for birds and other mammals; understory specimen; survives dry conditions well

Edibility and Other Human Use: The berry clusters are edible and tangy like lemons. They are often used to make Sumac Lemonade by soaking the fuzzy seeds in cold water; they can also be dried and eventually powdered to make a lovely spice garnish for salads or other dishes. High in vitamin C and antioxidants! 


 

Sources:

Winter Sumac photos by Victoria Moyer

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Farmer’s Almanac: Wild Edibles, Sumac Berries