Illinois' Best

Rhus typhina

Great large shrub for a naturalistic garden

The staghorn sumac derives its name from its meandering branches, which resemble the antlers of a male deer and are covered with velvety down. During the growing season, it's covered with bright-green, compound leaves that have quite the tropical appearance. Growing 15' to 25' in height, it can easily spread as much in width since it tends to sucker by its roots. The flowers are not showy. However, Native Americans did make a lemonade-type beverage out of the ripe fruits, which are deep red and form a fuzzy, upright cluster on the plant. They mature in late summer and persist into the following spring. Fall color is excellent -- yellow, orange and red all on the same plant. Many plants turn a solid blazing scarlet.  

Rhus typhina
Staghorn sumac
Family: Cashew (Anacardiaceae)
Type: Deciduous tree/shrub

Mature Size:
15-25 feet

  Flower Colors:
  Bloom Season:
full sun to partial shade
  Soil Moisture:
attracts birds
attracts butterflies
native to the Midwest
Winter Interest
growth habit
  Landscape Use:
urban street
bedding or border
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With the support of the North Suburban Library System and the Illinois State Library,
funded by the Library Services and Technology Act, 1998.