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Smooth Sumac

Smooth Sumac
Rhus glabra
(Order Sapindales, Family Anacardiaceae)
 
 
Smooth Sumac with ripe fruit.  Photo by  Chris Bevilacqua, July, 2013 near Leon, Kansas (37 degrees 44.295'N, 96 degrees 39.8'W)
 
 
Diagnosis:
Height: 1.5 meters to 2.4 meters (5-8 feet) tall.
Stems: Stems and branches glabrous and glaucous, forms dense thickets.
Leaves: Leaves alternate, odd-pinnate shaped, 3-5 dm long. Base is acute or rounded with upper surface dark green and lustrous, lower surface glaucous.
Flowers: Greenish flowers, with yellowish smooth seeds 3-3.5 mm long. 
Fruits: Red berries.
 
 
Flowering Period: May and June
 
Habitat: Open woodlands and borders, thickets, prairies, roadsides.
 
Conservation Status: Not threatened
 
Native status: Native to the United Sates.
 
Distribution: This species is widespread in Kansas and the United States.
 
Distribution of Rhus glabra in the United States (in green). From the USDA Plants Database.
 
Visitors: Over 300 species of song birds include Rhus glabra in their diet as well as wild turkeys, deer, and foxes.
 
Video: "Smooth Sumac"
 
 
Human Uses: Red berries can be boiled and made into a tea. Native Americans dried the leaves with dogwood bark to make kinnikinnik to smoke in substitute for tobacco.
 
Links:
 
References: 
Great Plains Flora Association, 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. University Press of Kansas. Lawrence Kansas. 724 pp.
 
Stevens, W. (1961). Kansas wild flowers. (3rd ed.). Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Press.
 
Niering, W., & Olmstead, N. (2001). North american wildflowers, eastern region. (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Chanticleer Press.
 
 
Submitted By: Chris Bevilacqua, July, 2013
 

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