smooth sumac

(Rhus glabra)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed

smooth sumac

NatureServe

N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Nativity

Native

Occurrence

Common

   
Habitat

Dry. Abandoned fields, forest edges, thickets, roadsides. Full sun.

Flowering

Early June to mid-July

     
Flower Color

Yellowish-green

     
Height

4 to 15

     
 
Identification

This is a fast-growing, 4 to 15 tall shrub or, rarely, small tree. It rises on a single trunk from long-creeping branched rhizomes. In Minnesota mature plants are usually 4 to 15 tall and 2 to 4 in diameter. Large individuals can reach over 32 in height and 8 in diameter. It often forms dense colonies with the oldest and tallest individuals in the center surrounded by progressively younger and shorter individuals. It is a short-lived tree, usually surviving no more than 50 years.

The trunk is forked and occasionally branched. The crown is open, irregular, and rounded or flat-topped.

The bark on young parts is thin, smooth, and dark brown to yellowish-brown with prominent lenticels. As it ages it becomes slightly scaly.

The upper branchlets are hairless, but flowering branches are sparsely hairy. The lower trunk and branches are hairless and woody.

The twigs are very stout, tan to slightly reddish, and hairless. Older branches have prominent lenticels, while younger branches and twigs do not. When broken the branches exude a yellowish sap.

There is no terminal bud—the branches end in a cluster of fruits or a dead stub. The lateral buds are cone-shaped, 3 16 to ¼ long, and covered with pale brown, velvety hairs. The leaf scar is crescent or horse-shoe shaped and has 3 bundle scars. The leaf scar almost completely surrounds the bud.

The leaves are deciduous, alternate, and pinnately compound. They are 12 to 24 long and are divided into 11 to 31 leaflets. They are on 1¼ to 4 long, hairless leaf stalks. The central stalk of the leaf to which the leaflets are attached is slightly reddish and hairless and is not winged.

The leaflets are stalkless or on very short stalks. They are arranged in opposite or slightly alternate pairs with 1 terminal leaflet. They are lance-shaped, 2 to 4¾ long, and ¾ to 1¾ wide. They are rounded or slightly heart-shaped at the base and taper to a long point at the tip. The upper surface is dark green and hairless. The lower surface is pale green to sometimes nearly white, hairless, and covered with a whitish, waxy coating (glaucous). The margins have fine, sharp, forward-pointing teeth or are rarely pinnately lobed. In autumn the leaves turn bright orange, red, or purple.

Male and female flowers are borne on separate plants. The inflorescence is a dense, erect, 2¾ to 10 long, 1½ to 2 wide, branched cluster (panicle) at the end of many of the branchlets. Each panicle is made up of 100 to 700 flowers. Female panicles are more compact than male panicles.

The flowers are tiny and yellowish-green. They appear in early June to mid-July after the leaves are fully developed.

The fruit is fleshy and surrounds a single seed (drupe). It is dark red, to 3 16 long and wide, and covered with bright red, needle-like hairs. They are held in dense, upright clusters. They ripen from August to September and persist for most of the winter.

 
Similar
Species

Staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina) branches, twigs, and rachis are densely covered with short, woolly or felty hairs. The drupes are densely hairy. It is less common than smooth sumac.

 
Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 24, 28.
 
Comments

 

 
Taxonomy

Family:

Anacardiaceae (sumac)

 

Subfamily:

Anacardioideae

 
Synonyms

Rhus borealis

Rhus calophylla

Rhus glabra var. laciniata

Rhus glabra var. occidentali

 
Common
Names

red sumac

scarlet sumac

smooth sumac

vinegar tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Bundle scar

Tiny raised area within a leaf scar, formed from the broken end of a vascular bundle.

 

Drupe

A fleshy fruit with a single hard, stone-like core, like a cherry or peach.

 

Glaucous

Pale green or bluish gray due to a whitish, powdery or waxy film, as on a plum or a grape.

 

Lenticel

A corky, round or stripe-like, usually raised, pore-like opening in bark that allows for gas exchange.

 

Panicle

A pyramidal inflorescence with a main stem and branches. Flowers on the lower, longer branches mature earlier than those on the shorter, upper ones.

 

Pinnate

Having the leaflets of a compound leaf arranged on opposite sides of a common stalk.

 

Rhizome

A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.

 

Winged leaf stalk

A leaf stalk with a leaf-like or membrane-like extension along both sides.

       
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Tom T.
       

Smooth Sumac Fruit & Showy Goldenrod

  smooth sumac    
       

Smooth Sumac Fruits

  smooth sumac    
       
       
Dan W. Andree
       

Autumn Sumac...

  smooth sumac    
       
Randy
       

Smooth sumac in flower. Freeborn County, MN, June 2017

  smooth sumac   smooth sumac
       
       
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
   

Habitat

  smooth sumac   smooth sumac
       

Plant

  smooth sumac   smooth sumac
       
  smooth sumac   smooth sumac
       

Inflorescence

  smooth sumac   smooth sumac
       

Flowers

  smooth sumac   smooth sumac
       

Leaves

  smooth sumac    
       

Infructescence

  smooth sumac   smooth sumac
       
       

 

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Other Videos
 
  Smooth Sumac - Rhus glabra
adamitshelanu
 
   
 
About

Published on Jul 19, 2014

Smooth Sumac - Rhus glabra

Uncle Steve has been watch the development of the berries on this plant for a while: Smooth Sumac

Rhus glabra

Date: 11 JULY 2014

[vado-g3 sansa avidemux audacity]

   
       
  smooth sumac
coydog outdoors
 
   
 
About

Published on Aug 5, 2013

 

   
       
  Smooth Sumac Revisited
Backwater Bill
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Aug 22, 2011

While out and about I came across a huge field of Smooth Sumac. I noticed that some trees seemed to be at the very early stage of ripening, whereas other were ready to be harvested, mostly the smaller trees were ready for harvest.

I can't wait to study up and learn more about Smooth Sumac from my book by Samuel Thayer entitled: The Forager's Harvest. He has an entire chapter devoted to this wild edible

   
       
  Smooth Sumac (Edible Sumac)
Ghostkamo
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Sep 6, 2009

Identifying and Using the Sumac as a Wild Edible

   
       
  Smooth Sumac - Tropical Plants in Minnesota - ChuckZamzow.com
Chuck Zamzow
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Aug 15, 2010

Visit http://www.chuckzamzow.com/ for more ideas!

   
       

 

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Tom T.
9/7/2020

Location: Seven Sisters Prairie

Smooth Sumac Fruits

smooth sumac


Randy
6/18/2017

Location: Freeborn County, MN

Smooth sumac in flower.

smooth sumac


Dan W. Andree
10/9/2016

Location: Frenchman’s Bluff - SNA in Norman County, Mn.

smooth sumac


     
     
 
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