staghorn sumac

(Rhus typhina)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed

staghorn sumac

NatureServe

N5? - Secure

SNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Nativity

Native

Occurrence

Common

   
   
    Photo by Luciearl
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 densely covered with with short, brown, hairs. The lower trunk and branches are hairless and woody. In winter the leafless, velvety branches have the appearance of antlers on a buck deer, giving the plant its common name.

The twigs are very stout, tan to slightly reddish, and densely hairy. 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, densely woolly or felty leaf stalks. The central stalk of the leaf to which the leaflets are attached is slightly reddish and densely hairy 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 nearly hairless. The lower surface is pale green to sometimes nearly white, moderately to densely hairy along the veins, 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

Smooth sumac (Rhus glabra) branches, twigs, and rachis are hairless. The drupes are hairless but densely covered with short, nipple-like bumps.

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

 

 
Taxonomy

Family:

Anacardiaceae (sumac)

 

Subfamily:

Anacardioideae

 
Synonyms

Datisca hirta

Rhus hirta

Rhus typhina var. laciniata

 
Common
Names

staghorn sumac

sumac

Velvet sumac

vinegar tree

Virginia sumac

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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Luciearl
       
  staghorn sumac    
       
Randy
       

Staghorn sumac as a foundation planting, December 2016, Freeborn County, MN

  staghorn sumac   staghorn sumac
       
  staghorn sumac   staghorn sumac
       
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
   

Habitat

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Plant

  staghorn sumac   staghorn sumac
       

Leaves

  staghorn sumac    
       

Stem

  staghorn sumac    
       

Infructescence

  staghorn sumac   staghorn sumac
       

Fall

  staghorn sumac    
       
       

 

Camera

     
Slideshows
   
  Staghorn Sumac
Wez Smith
 
  Staghorn Sumac  
 
About

Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina).

 
     
  Rhus typhina
Blake C. Willson
 
  Rhus typhina  
 
About

Staghorn Sumac

 
     
  Rhus typhina
Angie Holmberg
 
   
 
About

Published on Jul 31, 2014

Description

 
     

 

slideshow

       
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Other Videos
 
  Rhus typhina
wander van laar
 
   
 
About

Published on Feb 27, 2014

 

   
       
  Staghorn sumac (rhus typhina) identification video
wvoutdoorman
 
   
 
About

Published on Jul 22, 2013

Staghorn sumac (rhus typhina) identification video

   
       
  Plants To Know: Staghorn Sumac
EverydayTacticalVids
 
   
 
About

Published on Aug 14, 2014

In our "Plants to Know" series, we are looking at a variety of common plants, medicinal plants, edible plants, and even invasive plants. These short videos will offer you some info on plants that are worth knowing. Staghorn sumac offers a delicious, refreshing drink when you make a lemonade-like beverage from the berries. It's simple to do and these plants are found all over the place.

   
       

 

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Visitor Sightings
   
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Luciearl
7/24/2020

Location: Cass County

staghorn sumac


Randy
December, 2016

Location: Freeborn County, MN

Staghorn sumac as a foundation planting

staghorn sumac


     
     
 
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