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This is the tallest Sumac species in Illinois. It is less common than Rhus glabra (Smooth Sumac). Staghorn Sumac is easy to identify in the field because its young branches are covered with dense brown hairs. These hairs have the appearance of "velvet" on a deer's antlers, hence the common name. Other Sumacs have young branches that are less hairy or hairless (usually the latter). Like Smooth Sumac, Staghorn Sumac has central leaf stalks without wings, and both Sumacs have leaflets that are serrated along the margins and pale white on their undersides. However, the central leaf stalks of Staghorn Sumac have scattered brown hairs and its bright red drupes are much hairier than those of Smooth Sumac. Another scientific name of Staghorn Sumac is Rhus typhina.


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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers


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