Staghorn Sumac

Staghorn Sumac is a good erosion control plant as it spreads by root suckers forming colonies and thickets.

December 18, 2015 | | Blogs

Rhus typhina aka Staghorn Sumac, Velvet Sumac and Sumac Vinegar Tree is extremely hardy. Drought and salt tolerant. Does not tolerate shade or wet soil. Good erosion control plant as it spreads by root suckers forming colonies and thickets. Excellent fall colour and distinctive red fruit. Deer resistant. Attracts pollinators. Fruit provides a source of food for many birds and woodland mammals.

Staghorn Sumac Characteristics

Staghorn Sumac Fruit and Fall ColourLeaves: Bright green in summer turning yellow, orange and scarlet in the fall.
Stem/Bark: Extremely velvety reddish brown stems on young branches and smooth gray stems on older branches that do not bear leaves.
Flower: Greenish yellow in June to early July, not showy.
Fruit/Nut: Red, hairy fruit spikes mature in late Aug. and persists through winter. Bright crimson in early fall that becomes a duller and darker red in winter and spring.
Habit: Fast growing large deciduous loose spreading shrub or open tree with flattish crown and interesting crooked branching.
Hardiness: Zone 4
Height: 15’ – 30’
Width: 15’ – 25’

Why grow native plants?

A native plant is defined as a species of fauna that was already established before colonization. There are numerous benefits to the use of native plants. Native plants have grown and evolved in a given area for generations and therefore are more prepared to face the elements. As a result they are much hardier and less finicky to care for. The wildlife in the area has also evolved along side these plants, and because of this has formed bonds with them. Most butterflies have a specific plant species from which they collect nectar for their offspring.

There are many birds that will feed directly from local trees for seed, nectar or fruit, but won’t use the bird feeder you’ve bought to attract them. These plants also work together to grow as natural plant communities. Most of the trees won’t grow their leaves until after the wildflowers have had an adequate amount of time to flower before they’re covered by shade. Finally, of course, there is the fact that all of these plants and animals combine to make a sustainable, complete, functioning ecosystem. Why fight thousands of years of evolution?

Have questions about native plants? Post a comment Ian will get back to you.

About the Author More by Ian Payne

Not So Hollow Farm is nestled in the Hills of Mulmur saving the planet one Native Plant at a time. Check out the blog "Not So Hollow Farm Native Plant Showcase".

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By posting a comment you agree that IN THE HILLS magazine has the legal right to publish, edit or delete all comments for use both online or in print. You also agree that you bear sole legal responsibility for your comments, and that you will hold IN THE HILLS harmless from the legal consequences of your comment, including libel, copyright infringement and any other legal claims. Any comments posted on this site are NOT the opinion of IN THE HILLS magazine. Personal attacks, offensive language and unsubstantiated allegations are not allowed. Please report inappropriate comments to