Staghorn sumac

Silhouette - staghorn sumac
  • Latin name: Rhus typhina L.
  • French name: Sumac vinaigrier
  • Synonym(s): Velvet sumac
  • Taxonomic Serial Number: 28777
    504755 - [Rhus hirta (L.) Sudworth]
Description

Leaves

  • Leaf - staghorn sumac
  • Leaflet - staghorn sumac

Form

  • 11–31 leaflets
  • Lance-shaped
  • Curved, long-pointed
  • Almost stalkless
  • Fine hairs on the midvein and lateral veins
  • Central leaflets largest
  • Central stalk densely hairy

Length

  • Leaflets 5–12 cm
  • Leaflets and central stalk 30–50 cm

Colour

  • Upper surface dark green
  • Lower surface paler
  • Central stalk reddish

Autumn colour

  • Bright scarlet or orange 

Margin

  • Sharply toothed

Buds

  • Lateral bud and leaf scar - staghorn sumac

Form

  • No terminal bud
  • Lateral buds rounded, covered with long hairs
  • Leaf scars crescent-shaped, almost encircling the bud, with 3 groups of vein scars

Length

  • Lateral buds 5–7 mm

Colour

  • Hairs on lateral buds pale brown

Twigs

  • Winter twig - staghorn sumac

Form

  • Very stout
  • Exuding a milky sap if broken
  • Ending in a cluster of fruits or a dead stub
  • Growth resumes each year from 1 to 3 lateral buds below the dead tip, creating a distinctive y-branching effect
  • Densely covered with dark velvety hairs
  • Pith large

Colour

  • Pith yellowish-brown

Flowers

Form

  • Small
  • In large, dense, erect terminal clusters (panicles)

Length

  • Pollen flower clusters about 30 cm
  • Seed flower clusters less than 30 cm

Colour

  • Greenish-yellow

Structure

  • Polygamo-dioecious

Floral timing

  • July, after the leaves are fully developed

Fruits

  • Fruit - staghorn sumac

Form

  • Small, juicy, with a single seed
  • Covered with glandular hairs
  • In large, dense, erect, cone-shaped terminal clusters
  • Remain on tree throughout winter

Width

  • 3–5 mm

Colour

  • Red
  • Hairs reddish

Structure

  • Drupe

Bark

Form

  • Thin, smooth
  • Prominent lenticels
  • Becoming scaly with age

Colour

  • Dark yellowish-brown

Wood

Texture

  • Light, soft, brittle

Colour

  • Orange-green
  • Rays greenish

Morphology

  • Rays broad

Uses

  • Occasionally used for decorative finishing and wood novelties

Size

Height

  • To 6 m

Diameter

  • To 10 cm

Maximum age

  • 50 years

Tree form

  • Silhouette - staghorn sumac

Forest-grown

Trunk

  • Forked

Crown

  • Flat-topped, spreading

Root system

  • Shallow, wide-spreading

Habitat

Site

  • Open areas
  • On sandy or rocky soils

Light tolerance

  • Intolerant of shade

Associated species

  • Typically found in large colonies

Range

North shore of Lake Superior east to Nova Scotia

Photos
  • Staghorn sumac
  • Staghorn sumac
  • Staghorn sumac
  • Staghorn sumac
  • Staghorn sumac
  • Staghorn sumac
  • Staghorn sumac
Distribution map
Distribution map - staghorn sumac
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