Shrubs of Wisconsin

Rhus typhina L.
staghorn sumac
Family: Anacardiaceae
tree branch
plant branch leaf twig inflorescence fruit bark

Rhus typhina certainly ranks among the most distinctive and easiest species to identify. The dense, spreading hairs of the large diameter twigs are unique, even during winter after the leaves have fallen. The large compound, alternate leaves with numerous leaflets and the dense terminal clusters of hairy red fruits are also easy to recognize. Wood of well developed stems is yellow. The short, spreading, somewhat zig-zagged growth form is also easily recognizable. The plants form conspicuous clones with the stems tallest in the center and becoming progressively smaller approaching the outer edges. It is one of the first trees to change color in the Fall and the leaves are bright red. It may have a shrubby growth form in many cases, but large individuals may reach 10 meters in height with trunks to 20 cm in diameter.

The main range of Rhus typhina extends from Nova Scotia to eastern Minnesota and Iowa, east to West Virginia and Pennsylvania, with scattered populations as far south as Tennessee and North Carolina. It is widely distributed in Wisconsin and is commonly found in abandoned fields, clearings and rights-of-way.



known Wisconsin distribution


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