Sumac and its beautiful fall color

Winged Sumac, Smooth Sumac, rhus copallina

Brilliant fall color of the Rhus copallina

Driving down the interstate or your back roads in the fall, have you noticed the beautiful reds and burgundy?

Or have you walked along the edge of a wooded area in the fall and seen the beautiful reds and burgundy of the arched branches of small trees and shrubs?

rhus copallina, winged sumac, smooth sumac, native

Taken in early Fall

Many times it is Winged or Smooth Sumac (Rhus copallina) which is a native woodland plant that tolerates either full or part sun and can grow upwards of 20 feet tall. It is a deciduous plant and it is a native plant to many parts of the United States. It colonizes an area and is best used in naturalizing areas. It is an important part of the eco system in the woodland and natural areas of our country because the Sumac offers food for birds and wildlife.

rhus copallina

Starting to change in early fall.

Rhus copallina, winged sumac, smooth sumac

Notice the wings on the stems connected the leaves (nickname winged sumac) and the shiny leaves (smooth sumac nickname)

A neat fact about this plant is that it is dioecious (it is either male or female). This plant blooms mid summer and may produce drupes of dark red fruit later in the fall which turn black in the winter (I could not find one in my area with any fruit on it so check out the link below to see a picture of the fruits).

Rhus copallina, winged sumac, smooth sumac

This plant was about 6 feet tall in a wooded area near my home in full sun

This plant spreads by rhizomes and has long taproots and can quickly colonize an area. It will have more intense fall color in the sun but will tolerate any soil and even drought. If you want to grow this plant for the wildlife, make sure it has plenty of room and does not have the opportunity to choke out other plants.

rhus copallina, winged sumac, smooth sumac

The brilliant reds stand out from far away. Taken November 2014

Creating. Inspiring. Gardening without the rules!

2014/15 copyrightedmaterial by C Renee Fuller @ The Garden Frog Boutique

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