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Staghorn Sumac

Latin: Rhus typhina

Family: Anacardiaceae

Description - less than 6 m in height, a single tree-form is flat topped and irregular with crown supported by few widely diverging branches. Small trees often crooked with flat top. The root system is wide spreading, shallow, and produces suckers. The trees often forming thickets due to suckering.

 

Leaf - alternate, compound, 13 - 29 leaflets. Whitened, hairy underside, toothed margins, and a tip that is long and pointed. Base is rounded and the leaf stalk is hairy. In autumn leave turn red-orange to purple. When leaf stalk broken produces milky droplets. Leaf scars are horseshoe shaped.

 

Bark - smooth, brownish grey with red bumps. Mature trees bark darkens and becomes scaly.

 

Bud - minute, absent as terminals. Buds are cone-shaped in the winter.

 

Twig - stout, densely covered with short hairs, pithy, produces milky drops when broken which turn black when exposed to the air.

 

Flower - separate male and female trees and tiny flowers in cone shaped greenish yellow cluster. Male flowers are in larger clusters.

 

Fruit - fruit clusters turn crimson on female trees. Each cluster contains hundreds of fruits with a single stone. Each berry-like fruit is covered with sticky, dense scarlet hairs. Contains a single grey-brown stone.

 

Habitat - used in restoring disturbed or eroded sites.

 

Wildlife Value - fruits and twigs are food for browsers, rodents, and birds such as pheasant and grouse.

 

Wood - rot resistant.

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48075 Jamestown Line R.R. #2, Aylmer ON N5H 2R2