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!
Winter Sumac photos by Victoria Moyer