Fragrant Sumac, Rhus aromatica
Anacardiaceae or Cashew Family


A small shrub, about 3 feet tall. Leaves not opposite ach other, divided into 3 ovoid leaflets with scalloped edges. Leaves are wonderfully fragrant. Flowers small, greenish yellow, with five petals, in dense grape-like clusters at the top of the plant. Flowers in early April as the leaves are unfolding. Fruits are brilliant red, hairy berries in the summer, but the Park specimens have not been observed to fruit.

Native to much of eastern North America. Highly distinctive in fruit, but likely to be overlooked in flower or leaf. Which is perhaps why it was not noticed in the Park until April 2013! Rare in Wildwood, along the bikeway near the Outdoor Classroom.

Staghorn Sumac (R. typhina) is considerably taller and has many leaflets in each leaf. The leaves somewhat resemble those of poison ivy, but are much more regularly scalloped. Poison ivy leaves have a few large lobes. Poison ivy is also a vine, has looser flowers, and off-white berries.

Flowers   Young leaf

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