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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Comments

The foliage turns red during the fall and is quite attractive. It is easy to identify this species in the wild because the central leaf stalks of the compound leaves are conspicuously winged (see the lower photo). Another distinctive characteristic is the smooth margins of the leaves – other Rhus spp. have leaf margins that are serrate or crenate.
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Description

This native woody shrub is up to 20' tall, but more often 5-6' tall. The new growth of the stems is usually covered with a greyish pubescence. The alternate compound leaves are oddly pinnate, individually consisting of 7-21 leaflets and a central leaf stalk that is conspicuously winged. These compound leaves are up to 2½' long. A leaflet is about 3" long and 1" across. It is ovate or ovate-lanceolate, with smooth margins and an upper surface that is glabrous or slightly pubescent. Some of the upper stems terminate in a panicle of flowers up to 1' long. This panicle is broader at the bottom than the top. The small flowers are yellowish white and individually about 1/8" across. Each flower consists of 5 spreading petals, 5 stamens, and a central pistil. The calyx is divided into 5 triangular lobes that are recurved. Sometimes Winged Sumac is dioecious, with male and female plants. When this occurs, the flowers of the male plants will lack pistils, while the flowers of the female plants will lack stamens. The flowers usually bloom during mid-summer for about 2-3 weeks. Later in the year, they are replaced by dark red drupes that are covered with short acid hairs. Each drupe is about 1/6" long and contains a smooth stone. These drupes persist through the winter, gradually becoming black. The root system consists of a taproot and spreading rhizomes. Sometimes vegetative colonies of plants are created by the rhizomes. Cultivation
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Description

Winged sumac is a native, deciduous, large shrub that rarely exceeds 10 feet. It has alternate, compound leaves, 16-24 inches long, with a winged leafstalk. The leaflets are narrowed or rounded at the base and sharply pointed at the tip with finely serrated margins. The leaflets are dark green and smooth above, and pale beneath, except along the midrib. Compact clusters of greenish-yellow flowers bloom from July to September. Fruits mature later in the fall. The fruiting head is a compact cluster of round, red, hairy fruits called drupes. Each drupe measures ¼ inch in diameter and contains one seed. Each cluster of drupes may contain 100 to 700 seeds. Fruit is produced on plants 3 to 4 years old. Because most populations of sumac have male and female flowers on separate plants, only the female plants produce seed. Occasionally, plants are found which have both male and female flowers. The germination of sumac seeds is enhanced by their passage through the digestive system of rabbits, ring-necked pheasants, and quail. The presence of fire also encourages increased germination. There are about 60,000 seeds per pound.

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USDA NRCS Northeast Plant Materials Program

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Alternative names

flameleaf sumac, dwarf sumac

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USDA NRCS Northeast Plant Materials Program

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Distribution

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Winged Sumac is common in southern Illinois, occasional in NE Illinois, and rare or absent elsewhere (see Distribution Map). Habitats include openings in upland forests that are sandy or rocky, woodland borders, sandy savannas, sand prairies, limestone glades, fence rows, and abandoned fields. This is one of the shrubby invaders of sand prairies in NE Illinois. It prefers areas with a history of disturbance, such as fire. Faunal Associations
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Flameleaf sumac's range extends from southwestern Maine, south along the
Coastal Plain to southeastern Florida and west to eastern Texas. Inland
it occurs from central Michigan and central Wisconsin to southeastern
Iowa, extreme southeastern Kansas, and Oklahoma [11,12,15,20].
  • 11. Duncan, Wilbur H.; Duncan, Marion B. 1988. Trees of the southeastern United States. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press. 322 p. [12764]
  • 12. Evans, James E. 1983. Literature review of management practices for smooth sumac (Rhus glabra), poison ivy (Rhus radicans), and other sumac species. Natural Areas Journal. 3(1): 16-26. [6248]
  • 15. Godfrey, Robert K. 1988. Trees, shrubs, and woody vines of northern Florida and adjacent Georgia and Alabama. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press. 734 p. [10239]
  • 20. Johnson, E. W. 1963. Ornamental shrubs for the Southern Great Plains. Farmer's Bull. 2025. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture. 62 p. [12064]

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Occurrence in North America

AL AR CT DE FL GA IL IN IA KS
KY LA ME MD MA MI MS MO NH NJ
NY NC OH OK PA RI SC TN TX VT
VA WV

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Distribution and adaptation

Winged sumac is found throughout the eastern United States. While sumacs generally prefer fertile, upland sites they also tolerate a wide variety of conditions. All are tolerant of slightly acid soil conditions and textures ranging from coarse to fine. Typical growing sites include open fields and roadsides, fence rows, railroad rights-of-way, and burned areas. Sumacs are not highly shade tolerate and are considered early successional species.

For a current distribution map, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.

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USDA NRCS Northeast Plant Materials Program

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

More info for the terms: dioecious, tree

Flameleaf sumac is a deciduous, fast-growing, short-lived, clonal shrub
to small tree reaching heights of 20 to 30 feet (6-10 m) [11,15]. In
the open, the plant has an irregular, bushy crown with long slender,
alternate leaves on the branches. The dioecious flowers are borne in
panicles clustered at the end of the branches. The red fruit is a small
drupe containing a single nutlet. The fruits form dense clusters and
remain on the plant through the winter [3,11,30].
  • 11. Duncan, Wilbur H.; Duncan, Marion B. 1988. Trees of the southeastern United States. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press. 322 p. [12764]
  • 15. Godfrey, Robert K. 1988. Trees, shrubs, and woody vines of northern Florida and adjacent Georgia and Alabama. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press. 734 p. [10239]
  • 3. Brinkman, Kenneth A. 1974. Rhus L. sumac. In: Schopmeyer, C. S., technical coordinator. Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Agric. Handb. 450. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 715-719. [6921]
  • 30. Niering, William A.; Dreyer, Glenn D. 1989. Effects of prescribed burning on Andropogon scoparius in postagricultural grasslands in Connecticut. American Midland Naturalist. 122: 88-102. [8768]

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Description

Dioecious, shrubby. Branches and shoots rusty pubescent. Leaves imparipinnate; leaflets 9-11 pairs, opposite to subopposite, 35-60 x 10-15 mm, entire, but sometimes subdentate towards apex, glabrous and glaucous above, paler and with the midrib pubescent on the under surface. Rachis winged. Panicles both axillary and terminal, up to 11 cm long, erect, not exceeding the foliage. Male flowers: calyx c. 1.2 mm long, minutely pubescent, 5-lobed; lobes less than 1 mm long, ovate. Petals exceeding calyx in length, margin minutely pubescent. Ovary in female flowers minutely pubescent, stigmas 3. Drupes c. 4 mm broad, sub-globose, red, pubescent.

The above description is based on cultivated material from Cuba.

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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Winged Sumac is common in southern Illinois, occasional in NE Illinois, and rare or absent elsewhere (see Distribution Map). Habitats include openings in upland forests that are sandy or rocky, woodland borders, sandy savannas, sand prairies, limestone glades, fence rows, and abandoned fields. This is one of the shrubby invaders of sand prairies in NE Illinois. It prefers areas with a history of disturbance, such as fire. Faunal Associations
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Habitat characteristics

Flameleaf sumac can be found in open woodlands, fields, and along fence
rows but grows best on low bottomlands with well-drained, neutral to
slightly acidic soils [10,11,12,42]. It can also be found on poorly
drained soils, but its growth there is very slow.

Common associates of flameleaf sumac include sweetgum (Liquidambar
styraciflua), American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana), persimmon
(Diospyros virginiana), redbay (Persea borbonia), dwarf huckleberry
(Gaylussacia dumosa), wax-myrtle (Myrica cerifera), fetterbush (Lyonia
lucida), blueberry (Vaccinium spp.), and titi (Cyrilla racemiflora)
[2,10,22].
  • 10. Dobrowolski, J. P.; Blackburn, W. H.; Grelen, H. E. 1987. Sediment production from long-term burning of a longleaf pine-bluestem association. In: Pearson, Henry A.; Smeins, Fred E.; Thill, Ronald E., compilers. Ecological, physical, and socioeconomic relationships within southern National Forests: Proceedings of the southern evaluation project workshop; 1987 May 26-27; Long Beach, MS: Gen. Tech. Rep. SO-68. New Orleans, LA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Forest Experiment Station: 251-260. [12186]
  • 11. Duncan, Wilbur H.; Duncan, Marion B. 1988. Trees of the southeastern United States. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press. 322 p. [12764]
  • 12. Evans, James E. 1983. Literature review of management practices for smooth sumac (Rhus glabra), poison ivy (Rhus radicans), and other sumac species. Natural Areas Journal. 3(1): 16-26. [6248]
  • 2. Beaven, George Francis; Oosting, Henry J. 1939. Pocomoke Swamp: a study of a cypress swamp on the eastern shore of Maryland. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 66: 376-389. [14507]
  • 22. Kirkman, W. Benson; Wentworth, Thomas R.; Ballington, James R. 1989. The ecology and phytosociology of the creeping blueberries, Vaccinium section Herpothamnus. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 116(2): 114-133. [9645]
  • 42. Wade, Dale; Ewel, John; Hofstetter, Ronald. 1980. Fire in south Florida ecosystems. Gen. Tech. Rep. SE-17. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station. 125 p. [10363]

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Key Plant Community Associations

Flameleaf sumac is found in many plant associations but is not an
indicator of any particular habitat [35].
  • 35. Simpson, Benny J. 1988. A field guide to Texas trees. Austin, TX: Texas Monthly Press. 372 p. [11708]

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Habitat: Plant Associations

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

K089 Black Belt
K100 Oak - hickory forest
K103 Mixed mesophytic forest
K104 Appalachian oak forest
K106 Northern hardwoods
K110 Northeastern oak - pine forest
K111 Oak - hickory - pine forest
K112 Southern mixed forest
K113 Southern floodplain forest

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Habitat: Ecosystem

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This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

FRES12 Longleaf - slash pine
FRES13 Loblolly - shortleaf pine
FRES14 Oak - pine
FRES15 Oak - hickory
FRES16 Oak - gum - cypress

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Habitat: Cover Types

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):

40 Post oak - blackjack oak
64 Sassafras - persimmon
69 Sand pine
70 Longleaf pine
71 Longleaf pine - scrub oak
72 Southern scrub oak
79 Virginia pine
80 Loblolly pine - shortleaf pine
101 Baldcypress
102 Baldcypress - tupelo
109 Hawthorn
110 Black oak

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Dispersal

Establishment

One year old nursery grown seedlings are normally used for planting large areas. Once established, stands will spread from the root sprouts. The lateral root system is extensive and spread outward three or more feet a year. This sprouting is encouraged by cutting or fire injury. The colonies appear to lose vigor in about 15 years.

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USDA NRCS Northeast Plant Materials Program

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Associations

Flower-Visiting Insects of Winged Sumac in Illinois

Rhus copallina (Winged Sumac)
(Observations apply to pistillate and unspecified flowers; on pistillate flowers, all insects suck nectar; on unspecified flowers, bee activity is unspecified, while the butterfly sucks nectar; some observations are from Grundel & Pavlovic and Krombein et al. as indicated below, otherwise they are from Robertson)

On pistillate flowers:

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera sn fq; Apidae (Bombini): Bombus griseocallis sn; Anthophoridae (Eucerini): Melissodes bimaculata bimaculata sn; Megachilidae (Coelioxini): Coelioxys octodentata sn, Coelioxys sayi sn; Megachilidae (Megachilini): Megachile mendica sn, Megachile texana sn; Megachilidae (Trypetini): Heriades leavitti sn

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Agapostemon sericea sn, Augochlorella aurata sn, Augochlorella striata sn, Augochloropsis metallica metallica sn, Halictus confusus sn fq, Halictus parallelus sn, Halictus rubicunda sn fq, Lasioglossum imitatus sn fq, Lasioglossum pilosus pilosus sn, Lasioglossum versatus sn fq, Lasioglossum zephyrus sn fq; Halictidae (Sphecodini): Sphecodes confertus sn, Sphecodes dichroa sn fq; Colletidae (Hylaeinae): Hylaeus illinoisensis sn, Hylaeus mesillae sn

Wasps
Sphecidae (Crabroninae): Anacrabro ocellatus sn, Lestica confluentus sn, Lindenius columbianus sn, Oxybelus emarginatus sn, Oxybelus mexicanus sn, Oxybelus packardii sn; Sphecidae (Larrinae): Tachytes distinctus sn; Sphecidae (Philanthinae): Cerceris fumipennis sn, Eucerceris zonata sn, Philanthus gibbosus sn fq, Philanthus ventilabris sn; Sphecidae (Sphecinae): Ammophila kennedyi sn, Ammophila nigricans sn, Eremnophila aureonotata sn, Isodontia apicalis sn, Sphex ichneumonea sn, Sphex pensylvanica sn; Sapygidae: Sapyga interrupta sn; Tiphiidae: Myzinum quinquecincta sn; Scoliidae: Scolia bicincta sn; Pompilidae: Poecilopompilus interrupta sn, Tachypompilus ferruginea sn; Leucospididae: Leucospis affinis sn; Vespidae: Polistes carolina sn, Polistes dorsalis sn, Polistes fuscata sn; Vespidae (Eumeninae): Euodynerus annulatus sn fq, Euodynerus foraminatus sn fq, Pseudodynerus quadrisectus sn

Flies
Stratiomyidae: Stratiomys meigenii sn; Syrphidae: Allograpta obliqua sn, Eristalis arbustorum sn, Syritta pipiens sn fq, Toxomerus marginatus sn; Conopidae: Physocephala tibialis sn, Physoconops brachyrhynchus sn, Thecophora occidensis sn, Zodion americanum sn; Tachinidae: Archytas analis sn fq, Copecrypta ruficauda sn, Cylindromyia fumipennis sn, Linnaemya comta sn fq, Phasia purpurascens sn, Trichopoda pennipes sn; Sarcophagidae: Ravinia anxia sn, Sphixapata trilineata sn fq; Calliphoridae: Cochliomyia macellaria sn fq, Helicobia rapx sn; Muscidae: Musca domestica sn, Neomyia cornicina sn fq; Anthomyiidae: Calythea nigricans sn

Flower Gender Unspecified:

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Nomiinae): Nomia nortoni nortoni (Kr); Colletidae (Colletinae): Colletes nudus (Kr), Colletes producta (Kr)

Butterflies
Lycaenidae: Lycaeides melissa samuelis sn (GP)

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General Ecology

Fire Management Considerations

More info for the terms: cover, density

Fire exclusion greatly reduces density and cover of flameleaf sumac
[6,38].
  • 38. Taylor, Dale L.; Herndon, Alan. 1981. Impact of 22 years of fire on understory hardwood shrubs in slash pine communities within Everglades National Park. Report T-640. Homestead, FL: National Park Service, South Florida Research Center, Everglades National Park. 30 p. [11961]
  • 6. DeSelm, H. R.; Clebsch, E. E. C. 1991. Response types to prescribed fire in oak forest understory. In: Nodvin, Stephen C.; Waldrop, Thomas A., eds. Fire and the environment: ecological and cultural perspectives: Proceedings of an international symposium; 1990 March 20-24; Knoxville, TN. Gen. Tech. Rep. SE-69. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station: 22-33. [16630]

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Plant Response to Fire

More info for the terms: density, root collar

Fire stimulates root and root collar sprouting of flameleaf sumac when
aboveground portions are killed [38]. Flameleaf sumac shows dramatic
increases in stem production following fire [23,26,31]. The plant
increased from 50 to 88 percent of the total plant density on annual
burned plots in an oak forest in eastern Tennessee [7].
  • 23. Knapp, Alan K. 1986. Postfire water relations, production, and biomass allocation in the shrub, Rhus glabra, in tallgrass prairie. Botanical Gazette. 147(1): 90-97. [6215]
  • 26. Loomis, Robert M. 1977. Wildfire effects on an oak-hickory forest in southeast Missouri. Res. Note NC-219. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station. 4 p. [8738]
  • 31. Oosting, Henry J. 1944. The comparative effect of surface and crown fire on the composition of a loblolly pine community. Ecology. 25(1): 61-69. [9919]
  • 38. Taylor, Dale L.; Herndon, Alan. 1981. Impact of 22 years of fire on understory hardwood shrubs in slash pine communities within Everglades National Park. Report T-640. Homestead, FL: National Park Service, South Florida Research Center, Everglades National Park. 30 p. [11961]
  • 7. DeSelm, Hal R.; Clebsch, Edward E. C.; Rennie, John C. 1991. Effects of 27 years of prescribed fire on an oak forest and its soils in middle Tennessee. In: Coleman, Sandra S.; Neary, Daniel G., compiler. Proceedings, 6th biennial southern silvicultural research conference: Vol. 1; 1990 October 30 - November 1; Memphis, TN. Gen. Tech. Rep. SE-70. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station: 409-417. [17488]

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Post-fire Regeneration

More info for the terms: caudex, root crown, secondary colonizer

survivor species; on-site surviving root crown or caudex
off-site colonizer; seed carried by animals or water; postfire yr 1&2
secondary colonizer; on-site germinating seed

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Fire Ecology

More info for the terms: root crown, top-kill

Flameleaf sumac is well adapted to fire. Fire enhances germination of
the plant by scarifying the seed [1,32]. Following top-kill by fire,
flameleaf sumac will sprout from the root crown [38]. Birds and mammals
may transport some seed to burned sites.
  • 1. Armstrong, W. E. 1980. Impact of prescribed burning on wildlife. In: White, Larry D., ed. Prescribed range burning in the Edwards Plateau of Texas: Proceedings of a symposium; 1980 October 23; Junction, TX. College Station, TX: Texas Agricultural Extension Service, The Texas A&M University System: 22-26. [11430]
  • 32. Rasmussen, G. Allen; Wright, Henry A. 1986. Requirements for germination of flameleaf sumac seeds. In: Smith, Loren M.; Britton, Carlton M., eds. Research highlights--1986 Noxious brush and weed control; range and wildlife management. Volume 17. Lubbock, TX: Texas Tech University: 16. [3660]
  • 38. Taylor, Dale L.; Herndon, Alan. 1981. Impact of 22 years of fire on understory hardwood shrubs in slash pine communities within Everglades National Park. Report T-640. Homestead, FL: National Park Service, South Florida Research Center, Everglades National Park. 30 p. [11961]

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Successional Status

More info on this topic.

More info for the term: climax

Flameleaf sumac is an early-pioneer species that grows best in full
sunlight [36]. It is considered a fire climax species that rapidly
declines 3 to 4 years following fire [6,41].
  • 36. Sotala, Dennis J.; Kirkpatrick, Charles M. 1973. Foods of white-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus, in Martin County, Indiana. American Midland Naturalist. 89(2): 281-286. [15056]
  • 41. Vogel, Willis G. 1981. A guide for revegetating coal minesoils in the eastern United States. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-68. Broomall, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 190 p. [15576]
  • 6. DeSelm, H. R.; Clebsch, E. E. C. 1991. Response types to prescribed fire in oak forest understory. In: Nodvin, Stephen C.; Waldrop, Thomas A., eds. Fire and the environment: ecological and cultural perspectives: Proceedings of an international symposium; 1990 March 20-24; Knoxville, TN. Gen. Tech. Rep. SE-69. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station: 22-33. [16630]

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Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

More info on this topic.

More info for the term: phanerophyte

Phanerophyte

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Life Form

More info for the terms: shrub, tree

Tree, Shrub

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Regeneration Processes

Flameleaf sumac regenerates vegetatively by sprouting from the roots and
root crown [1,12]. It also regenerates sexually, but details have not
been described [15,32]. The seeds are dispersed by animals [8,35].
  • 1. Armstrong, W. E. 1980. Impact of prescribed burning on wildlife. In: White, Larry D., ed. Prescribed range burning in the Edwards Plateau of Texas: Proceedings of a symposium; 1980 October 23; Junction, TX. College Station, TX: Texas Agricultural Extension Service, The Texas A&M University System: 22-26. [11430]
  • 12. Evans, James E. 1983. Literature review of management practices for smooth sumac (Rhus glabra), poison ivy (Rhus radicans), and other sumac species. Natural Areas Journal. 3(1): 16-26. [6248]
  • 15. Godfrey, Robert K. 1988. Trees, shrubs, and woody vines of northern Florida and adjacent Georgia and Alabama. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press. 734 p. [10239]
  • 32. Rasmussen, G. Allen; Wright, Henry A. 1986. Requirements for germination of flameleaf sumac seeds. In: Smith, Loren M.; Britton, Carlton M., eds. Research highlights--1986 Noxious brush and weed control; range and wildlife management. Volume 17. Lubbock, TX: Texas Tech University: 16. [3660]
  • 35. Simpson, Benny J. 1988. A field guide to Texas trees. Austin, TX: Texas Monthly Press. 372 p. [11708]
  • 8. Deen, Robert T.; Hodges, John D. 1991. Oak regeneration in abandoned fields: presumed role of the blue jay. In: Coleman, Sandra S.; Neary, Daniel G., compilers. Proceedings, 6th biennial southern silvicultural research conference: Vol. 1; 1990 October 30 - November 1; Memphis, TN. Gen. Tech. Rep. SE-70. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station: 84-93. [17465]

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Immediate Effect of Fire

Fire generally kills aboveground portions of the plant.

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Phenology

More info on this topic.

Flameleaf sumac shows its most pronounced growth between April and May.
It flowers between July and August. The fruit ripens during September
and October, and persists through the winter [3,40].
  • 3. Brinkman, Kenneth A. 1974. Rhus L. sumac. In: Schopmeyer, C. S., technical coordinator. Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Agric. Handb. 450. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 715-719. [6921]
  • 40. Vines, Robert A. 1960. Trees, shrubs, and woody vines of the Southwest. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. 1104 p. [7707]

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Rhus copallina

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Rhus copallina

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N4 - Apparently Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Status

Please consult the PLANTS Web site and your State Department of Natural Resources for this plant’s current status (e.g. threatened or endangered species, state noxious status, and wetland indicator values).

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Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Management

Management considerations

Flameleaf sumac often competes with pine and other hardwoods [4].
Streamline basal application of the herbicide Garlon 4 has been reported
as having a greater than 80 percent average control of flameleaf sumac
in northern Georgia and eastern Alabama [28].

Flameleaf sumac is sensitive to ozone damage [16,34].
  • 16. Hacker, David; Renfro, James. 1992. Great Smoky Mountain plants studied for ozone sensitivity. Park Science. 12(1): 6-7. [17788]
  • 28. Miller, James H. 1990. Streamline basal application of herbicide for small-stem hardwood control. Southern Journal of Applied Forestry. 14(4): 161-165. [13538]
  • 34. Renfro, James R. 1989. Evaluating the effects of ozone on the plants of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Park Science. 9(4): 22-23. [9337]
  • 4. Cain, M. D.; Mann, W. F., Jr. 1980. Annual brush control increases early growth of loblolly pine. Southern Journal of Applied Forestry. 4(2): 67-70. [6770]

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Cultivars, improved and selected materials (and area of origin)

No known cultivar of this species is known to exist. Rooted plants may be available from specialty nurseries.

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USDA NRCS Northeast Plant Materials Program

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Sumac stands can best be maintained by eliminating competing vegetation by mowing, chemicals, or fire. Sumacs fail to compete with invading tree species and are seldom found growing under a closed canopy.

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Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites

More info for the term: shrub

Flameleaf sumac is tolerant to drought conditions. In a study conducted
on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway in Tennessee, flameleaf sumac
showed the greatest and most consistent increase of any shrub during
the drought of 1987 [17].

Flameleaf sumac can be propagated by seed or by root cuttings [40].
  • 17. Hartley, Jeanne J.; Arner, Dale H.; Hartley, Danny R. 1990. Woody plant succession on disposal areas of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. In: Hughes, H. Glenn; Bonnicksen, Thomas M., eds. Restoration '89: the new management challenge: Proceedings, 1st annual meeting of the Society for Ecological Restoration; 1989 January 16-20; Oakland, CA. Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Arboretum, Society for Ecological Restoration: 227-236. [14698]
  • 40. Vines, Robert A. 1960. Trees, shrubs, and woody vines of the Southwest. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. 1104 p. [7707]

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Other uses and values

The bark and leaves of flameleaf sumac contain tannin and are used in
the tanning industry. The crushed fruit of this species was added to
drinking water by Native Americans to make it more palatable [40].

Because of the attractive colorful features of the leaves and flowers,
flameleaf sumac is sometimes cultivated as an ornamental [15,19].
  • 15. Godfrey, Robert K. 1988. Trees, shrubs, and woody vines of northern Florida and adjacent Georgia and Alabama. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press. 734 p. [10239]
  • 19. Johnson, A. Sydney; Landers, J. Larry. 1978. Fruit production in slash pine plantations in Georgia. Journal of Wildlife Management. 42(3): 606-613. [9855]
  • 40. Vines, Robert A. 1960. Trees, shrubs, and woody vines of the Southwest. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. 1104 p. [7707]

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Cover Value

The thickets of flameleaf sumac provide environmental protection for a
variety of birds and mammals throughout its range [9,21].
  • 21. Kalisz, Paul J.; Boettcher, Susan E. 1991. Active and abandoned red-cockaded woodpecker habitat in Kentucky. Journal of Wildlife Management. 55(1): 146-154. [13837]
  • 9. Dickson, James G.; Conner, Richard N.; Williamson, J. Howard. 1983. Snag retention increases bird use of a clear-cut. Journal of Wildlife Management. 47(3): 799-804. [13855]

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Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

Flameleaf sumac is considered a poor to moderately important browse for
white-tailed deer [5,18]. In the Ozark Mountains of Missouri, the twigs
are browsed extensively by white-tailed deer during the winter months
when other more desirable browse is scarce [29]. Mature berries of
flameleaf sumac are eaten by grouse, wild turkey, and songbirds [20,
37]. The bark and twigs are eaten by rabbits, especially during the
winter months [11].
  • 11. Duncan, Wilbur H.; Duncan, Marion B. 1988. Trees of the southeastern United States. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press. 322 p. [12764]
  • 18. Hurst, George A. 1978. Effects of controlled burning on wild turkey poult food habits. Proceedings, Annual Conference of Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. 32: 30-37. [14648]
  • 29. Murphy, Dean A. 1970. Deer range appraisal in the Midwest. In: White-tailed deer in the Midwest: Proceedings of a symposium, 30th Midwest fish and wildlife conference; 1968 December 9; Columbus, OH. Res. Pap. NC-39. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station: 2-10. [13667]
  • 5. Dalke, Paul D. 1941. The use and availability of the more common winter deer browse plants in the Missouri Ozarks. Transactions, 6th North American Wildlife Conference. 6: 155-160. [17044]

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Nutritional Value

The seeds and fruits of flameleaf sumac are generally low in crude
protein, crude fat, and calcium but high in tannin [29].
  • 29. Murphy, Dean A. 1970. Deer range appraisal in the Midwest. In: White-tailed deer in the Midwest: Proceedings of a symposium, 30th Midwest fish and wildlife conference; 1968 December 9; Columbus, OH. Res. Pap. NC-39. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station: 2-10. [13667]

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Uses

Sumac serves primarily as a winter emergency food for wildlife. Ring-necked pheasant, bobwhite quail, wild turkey, and about 300 species of songbirds include sumac fruit in their diet. It is also known to be important only in the winter diets of ruffed grouse and the sharp-tailed grouse. Fox squirrels and cottontail rabbits eat the sumac bark. White-tail deer like the fruit and stems.

Sumac also makes good ornamental plantings and hedges because of the brilliant red fall foliage. It is best used on drastically disturbed sites where pioneer species are desirable.

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Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Wikipedia

Rhus copallina

Rhus copallinum (Rhus copallina is also used but, this is not consistent with the rules of the International Association for Plant Taxonomy.) [1] [2] Shining Sumac, Dwarf Sumac, Flameleaf Sumac or Winged Sumac, is a species of flowering plant in the cashew family (Anacardiaceae) that is native to eastern North America. It is a deciduous tree growing to 3.5–5.5 metres (11–18 ft) tall and an equal spread with a rounded crown. A 5-year-old sapling will stand about 2.5 metres (8.2 ft).

Description[edit]

Shining Sumac at Illinois State University
Trunk of a Shining Sumac

Shining sumac is often cultivated, where it is well-suited to natural and informal landscapes because it has underground runners which spread to provide dense, shrubby cover for birds and wildlife.[3] This species is valued for ornamental planting because of its lustrous dark green foliage which turns a brilliant orange-red in fall. The fall color display is frequently enjoyed along interstate highways, as the plant readily colonizes these and other disturbed sites.[3] The tiny, greenish-yellow flowers, borne in compact, terminal panicles, are followed by showy red clusters of berries which persist into the winter and attract wildlife.

The flowers are yellow, flowering in the summer. The fruit attracts birds with no significant litter problem, is persistent on the tree and showy.

The bark is thin and easily damaged from mechanical impact; branches droop as the tree grows, and will require pruning for vehicular or pedestrian clearance beneath the canopy; routinely grown with, or trainable to be grown with, multiple trunks. The tree wants to grow with several trunks but can be trained to grow with a single trunk. It has no thorns.

Cultivation[edit]

The tree can be planted in a container or above-ground planter; recommended for buffer strips around parking lots or for median strip plantings in the highway; reclamation plant; specimen; tree has been successfully grown in urban areas where air pollution, poor drainage, compacted soil, and/or drought are common.

The tree grows in full sun or part shade. Soil tolerances include clay, loam, sand, slightly alkaline, acidic, and well-drained soil. Its drought tolerance is high.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "CHAPTER III. Nomenclature of taxa according to their rank SECTION 4. Names of species Article 23". International Association for Plant Taxonomy. Retrieved 2014-10-01. "when it is a noun in apposition or a genitive noun, it retains its own gender and termination irrespective of the gender of the generic name." 
  2. ^ Linne. Sp. pl. ed. 1, ed. 2; Syst. nat. ed. 10. doi:10.5962/bhl.title.669. 
  3. ^ a b "Rhus copallinum L.". Wildland Shrubs of the United States and its Territories: Thamnic Descriptions, General Technical Report IITF-WB-1, Edited by John K. Francis. International Institute of Tropical Forestry. Retrieved 2008-08-24. 
  4. ^ Rhus copallina Shining Sumac by Edward F. Gilman and Dennis G. Watson, Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, Fact Sheet ST-568, October 1994
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Notes

Comments

A native of Eastern N. America, reportedly cultivated at the Bagh-i-Jinnah Gardens, Lahore (fide Parker, 1918). The autumn coloration of the leaves is said to be very attractive.
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© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA

Source: Missouri Botanical Garden

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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Epithet spelled "copallina" in many floras; Kartesz (1994 Checklist) spells "copallinum" following Linnaeus (1753).

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© NatureServe

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The currently accepted scientific name for flameleaf sumac is Rhus
copallinum L. [43]. Varieties: The typical variety, R. copallinum L.
var. copallinum, is generally replaced in central Texas by the prairie
flame-leaf sumac, R. copallinum L. var. lanceolate Gray, which has
narrower and more falcate leaves, larger clusters of fruit, and a more
treelike rounded form. White flame-leaf sumac or southern sumac, R.
copallinum L. var. leucantha (Jacq.) DC., is a variety with white flowers
found near New Braunfels, Texas. Winged sumac or dwarf sumac, R.
copallinum L. var. latifolia Engl. is a variety with 5 to 13 broader
oblong to narrow-ovate leaflets, but some authors have relegated it to
the status of a synonym of the species [3,40]. This paper focuses on
the typical variety.
  • 3. Brinkman, Kenneth A. 1974. Rhus L. sumac. In: Schopmeyer, C. S., technical coordinator. Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Agric. Handb. 450. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 715-719. [6921]
  • 40. Vines, Robert A. 1960. Trees, shrubs, and woody vines of the Southwest. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. 1104 p. [7707]
  • 43. Gleason, Henry A.; Cronquist, Arthur. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. 2nd ed. New York: New York Botanical Garden. 910 p. [20329]

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Common Names

flameleaf sumac
shiny sumac
dwarf sumac
winged sumac
mountain sumac
black sumac

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