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Staghorn Sumac

Rhus typhina

Seneca Name


Common Name

"Velvet Sumac"


Earth is Our Mother Trail

GPS Coordinates

N 42°57.793' W077°24.920'

A small native tree, staghorn sumac makes colonies and has brilliant colors in its autumn leaves. Various parts of the trees has medicinal and utilitarian uses plus the fruits makes a wonderful "lemonade" like drink. The staghorn sumac is a tall shrub or small tree (30') with an irregular, open, flat crown or a few stout spreading branches. The leaves are pinnately compound and are 12-24" long with a stout softly hairy reddish-tinged axis (center stem). Each leaf consists of 11-31 leaflets that are 2-4" long, lance-shaped, and saw-toothed. The leaves are dark green above and whitish beneath. The staghorn sumac stands out in the Fall because its foliage color is bright red with orange and purple. There are tiny greenish flowers in Early Summer with clusters of fruits covered in long red hairs maturing in Late Summer and Fall. These fruits are highly visible throughout the Winter season. The bark is dark brown, thin, and smooth becoming scaly with age. The twigs are stout and hairy which are reminiscent of deer antlers when they are "in velvet" and so inspired the common name of this tree.

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