Trees of Alabama and the Southeast

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

Rhus typhina

Leaves are compound, alternate, and deciduous with a pubescent rachis. Leaves turn bright red in the fall. Young twigs are red-brown and stout with wooly hairs, milky sap, and U-shaped leaf scars which nearly encircle lateral buds. Bark is gray 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 eastern U.S. and as far south as northwest Alabama. The fruits are eaten by birds and are very tart in taste.

Photographs by Mike Hogan.

To view examples, click on the thumbnail below: