Smooth Sumac (Rhus glabra)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Smooth Sumac
Give a thumbs up Rocky Mountain Sumac
Give a thumbs up Smooth Sumach

Botanical names:
Rhus glabra Accepted
Schmaltzia glabra Synonym
Rhus glabra var. laciniata Synonym
Rhus glabra var. cismontana Synonym

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
Soil pH Preferences: Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 2 -45.6 °C (-50 °F) to -42.8 °C (-45°F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 8b
Plant Height: 10 to 20 feet
Plant Spread: 10 to 20 feet and more from suckers
Leaves: Good fall color
Fruit: Showy
Edible to birds
Fruiting Time: Late summer or early fall
Late fall or early winter
Flowers: Inconspicuous
Flower Color: Yellow
Flower Time: Summer
Underground structures: Rhizome
Suitable Locations: Beach Front
Uses: Dye production
Provides winter interest
Will Naturalize
Edible Parts: Fruit
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Drought tolerant
Salt tolerant
Propagation: Seeds: Self fertile
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Stem
Cuttings: Root
Pollinators: Bees
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil
Conservation status: Least Concern (LC)

Conservation status:
Conservation status: Least Concern

A Beautiful Day in the NeighborhoodA Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
By SongofJoy on July 13, 2014

The Nature Conservancy calls Tennessee the most biologically rich of all the inland states. As I walk through my property and neighborhood, I see many exotic plants. Fortunately, I also see an abundance of native plants.

(Full article33 comments)
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Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Jan 5, 2018 12:51 PM

Smooth Sumac is very similar to the Staghorn Sumac, except it is a smaller plant, usually 10 to 15 feet high, that is normally a large shrub and it does not have hairy twigs or fruit clusters. It also spreads by ground suckers to form a colony. The compound leaves are 1 to 1.5 feet long with 11 to 31 leaflets that turn an excellent red or orange in autumn. It grows in nature in upland sites, liking hills and slopes in a native range from along the St Lawrence River and southeast Ontario, New England down to central Georgia to east Texas up the Great Plains into southern Manitoba and a few spots in the Rocky Mountains. It is fast growing of 2 to 3 feet/year. The big stems live about 30 years before they die and are replaced from the colony root system. The female plants bear the large, terminal spikes of red berries that are loved by many birds and by some small mammals and last from September through the winter. Some large, diverse nurseries sell some and a good number of the native plant nurseries. The average homeowner very rarely ever plants this species, but a very few might like the cut-leaf cultivar. Landscape designers and architects plant a few in some professional landscapes or at public sites as parks. I got two in my backyard that were planted by the birds from seed along the fence and I have let them grow up.

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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Poison sumac? by HelpMePlease1 Aug 11, 2019 4:35 PM 5
10 Green Leaves on Stem by ddfoster9 May 12, 2018 7:01 AM 2
Red leaf plant....know it's name? by Bakeranm Jul 25, 2017 4:20 AM 29
Is this plant dangerous? by Philly Jun 20, 2017 7:50 AM 10
Is this a fern? by Butterflylady Jul 17, 2016 9:37 AM 11
What is it? by MotherEarthObserver Jun 18, 2016 3:21 PM 10
What is this? by Timmyappleseed Aug 16, 2014 12:04 PM 4
Salt tolerant plants by eclayne Feb 8, 2013 9:39 PM 130
The Beautiful Smooth Sumac, Rhus glabra. by frostweed Dec 12, 2012 7:33 PM 2
Invalid species report by dave Jul 14, 2012 2:30 PM 58

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