Thursday, April 23, 2020
Winged Sumac - Rhus copallinum
Winged Sumac - Rhus copallinum is a sumac that is most easily recognized by it's alternate, pinnately compound leaves with 4+ mm winged rachis. It is a small deciduous shrub or small slender tree that reaches heights of only 30-35 feet tall. Generally growing in an erect upright fashion it can have single or multiple trunks and is often thicket forming from the production of numerous root suckers. It is native to the North America and can be found growing throughout the Eastern seaboard from Canada and Maine in the North south throughout Florida, west through eastern Nebraska and eastern Texas. It is similar in appearance to the Prairie Sumac with the only difference being the rachis size.
Image Citation: Vern Wilkins, Indiana University, Bugwood.org
The bark of the Winged Sumac is smooth, brown or reddish brown with numerous visible lenticles. The leaves are alternate, pinnately compound with blades ranging in size from 10-30 cm long, having conspicuous winged rachis, the wings each reaching sizes of over 4 mm each, with 9-23 leaflets. The flowers are unisexual, with male or female typically occurring on separate trees, green-white in color, with 5 petals and sepals each abut 1 mm long. The fruit is a hairy rounded red drupe 4-5 mm in diameters, occurring in late Summer to early Fall and remaining until Winter.
Image Citation: Charles T. Bryson, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org