Trees of Alabama and the Southeast

Lisa Samuelson, Ph.D.
School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
Auburn University

SMOOTH SUMAC
Rhus glabra
Anacardiaceae

Leaves are compound, alternate, and deciduous with 11-31 leaflets and a bright red rachis. Leaves turn bright red in the fall. Twigs are stout with a smooth, waxy surface and heart-shaped leaf scars which encircle fuzzy lateral buds. Bark is brown and smooth with lenticels. Flowers are greenish-white. Fruit is a cluster of bright red drupes. Form is a shrub or small tree up to 6 m (20 ft) in height with an open crown, forming thickets in open areas in the east and central U.S. and is intolerant of shade. The fruits are eaten by birds and taste very tart.

Photographs by Mike Hogan.

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