General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Shrub
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Partial or Dappled Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Dry Mesic
Dry
Soil pH Preferences: Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Slightly alkaline (7.4 – 7.8)
Moderately alkaline (7.9 – 8.4)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 3 -40 °C (-40 °F) to -37.2 °C (-35)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 8b
Plant Height: 3 - 10 feet
Plant Spread: 4 - 8 feet
Leaves: Good fall color
Unusual foliage color
Deciduous
Fruit: Edible to birds
Fruiting Time: Late summer or early fall
Fall
Late fall or early winter
Winter
Flowers: Inconspicuous
Flower Color: Yellow
Bloom Size: Under 1"
Flower Time: Spring
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Birds
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Drought tolerant
Propagation: Seeds: Self fertile
Pollinators: Bees
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil
Dioecious

Image
Common names
  • Fragrant Sumac
  • Three-Leaf Sumac
  • Skunkbrush
  • Lemonadebush
  • Squawbush
  • Aromatic Sumac
  • Lemon Sumac
  • Polecat Bush

Photo Gallery
Location: St Louis - MoBOT
Location: West Valley City, UT
Date: 2012-07-12
Location: Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois
Date: 2023-10-24
full-grown shrub in fall color
Location: Matthaei Botanical Gardens, Ann Arbor
Date: 2012-10-25
Rhus aromatica - Next year's buds
Location: Chadds Ford, PA at Brandywine Art Museum
Date: 2018-08-10
full-grown shrub
Location: Gallup Park, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Date: 2020-10-20
Leaves come in sets of three.  Crushed twigs and leaves have a ci
Location: Gallup Park, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Date: 2020-10-20
Fall foliage for this species is predominantly red, but can also
Location: Gallup Park, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Date: 2020-10-20
As shown here, leaflets on the same plant can have tips that are
Location: North Carolina Botanical Gardens Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Date: February 28, 2023
Fragrant Sumac #383; RAB p. 677, 110-1-4; LHB p. 628, "Ancient Gr
Location: Matthaei Botanical Gardens, Ann Arbor
Date: 2012-10-25
Rhus aromatica, Fragrant sumac - It can show off unrivaled reds i
Location: Gallup Park, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Date: 2020-10-20
Hairy berries.  I rarely see fruit on the local wild or naturaliz
Location: Gallup Park, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Date: 2020-10-20
To me, this mosaic of a range of colors is as pleasing as, say, s
Location: Ann Arbor, residential neighborhood, curbside.
Date: 2023-07-07
If you ever get a chance to taste these berries, don't pass it up
Location: Fairfax, VA | September 2022
Date: 2022-09-05
Location: Newtown Square, Pennsylvania
Date: 2011-08-05
summer foliage
Location: West Valley City, UT
Date: 2010-10-22
Fall color is splendid.
Location: West Valley City, UT
Date: 2012-07-12
Location: West Valley City, UT
Date: 2008-05-23
Location: Fairfax, VA | September 2022
Date: 2022-09-05

photo credit: Bruce Marlin

Credit NPS
Location: mid-TN
Date: 2017-05-16
Location: mid-TN
Date: 2017-05-16
Location: Hinsdale, Illinois
Date: summer in 1980's
two shrubs in a driveway island
Location: Newtown Square, Pennsylvania
Date: 2014-06-04
mature shrub near road
Location: Newtown Square, Pennsylvania
Date: 2011-08-05
mature shrub near road
Location: Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois
Date: summer in 1980's
a line of shrubs
Location: Indiana Dunes State Park in northwest IN 
Date: 2016-07-16
a mature wild shrub on a dune
Location: West Valley City, UT
Date: 2012-07-12
Location: Tennessee
courtesy Sunlight Gardens, www.sunlightgardens.com

Credit NPS
Location: West Valley City, UT
Date: 2009-10-18
It glows in the Fall.
This plant is tagged in:
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Comments:
  • Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Jan 5, 2018 1:25 PM concerning plant:
    The regular straight species grows as a wide, mounded form usually about 5 or 6 feet high, but it can get to 12 feet high. It gets wider by some ground suckers and by trailing stems that root along the ground. It has very shiny, dark, three-lobed leaves that turn a good orange to red to red-purple autumn color. Leaves and twigs smell fragrant if broken and crushed; most people should not get a rash touching this. The male plants bear little, brownish catkins about 1 inch long while the female plants bear small clusters of light yellow flowers in March-April before the leaves emerge. The female plants bear the red berries about 1/4 inch wide that mature in July and often last through the winter, though usually not abundant, and that are loved by birds and are edible for people. The species grows in upland dry locations often on rocky or sandy places on cliffs, bluffs, hills, dunes, and barrens in a native range from southeast Ontario and various areas of western New England & New York down to southern Georgia to areas over Texas, all of Oklahoma, Kansas, & Missouri, spots in Nebraska and Iowa to southern Wisconsin. The straight species is sold by some large, diverse nurseries and native plant nurseries. I've never seen it in the average homeowner yard, but at some parks, office parks, hospitals, campuses, and public sites from landscape designers or architects. The groundcover form of the cultivar of 'Gro-low' is much more commonly planted.
  • Posted by SongofJoy (Clarksville, TN - Zone 6b) on Jan 15, 2012 7:16 AM concerning plant:
    Sumacs are rapidly becoming "the" plants to have for durability, toughness, great fall color and the ability to stabilize soil over large areas. Growing wild in much of the eastern United States in rocky, open woodlands, this Sumac is a great deciduous plant for a difficult spot. It has been spotted growing in gravely, lousy soil with Little Bluestem, Tennessee Coneflower, and Silkgrass where it formed open 6 foot rounded shrubs - kind of straggly but very tough and durable. The bright green leaves look like rounded poison ivy leaves but are non-allergenic and turn bright red, yellow-orange and purple in the fall. Modest yellow flowers appear in spring followed by small dark red fruits (on female plants) in fall. It is the stems that are pungently fragrant. Use Fragrant Sumac in sun or light shade in dryish soil. It can become the backbone of a very low maintenance garden.
Plant Events from our members
Zencat On May 1, 2015 Plant Ended (Removed, Died, Discarded, etc)
Plant removed. Oversized for area
Plant is growing from stump, 2016
WebTucker On March 5, 2023 Bloomed
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