|A small tree, 5-20 feet tall. Leaves are
large, with 11-31 narrow, toothed leaflets, turn beautifully red
in autumn. Twigs and leafstalks are covered with velvety
hairs. Flowers are small and green, with 5 petals, in a
pyramidal cluster. Blooms in early summer. Flowers develop into red berries that
are covered with fine hairs.
Although native, this is a
somewhat weedy tree, preferring open spaces and invading
pastures and roadsides. In Wildwood, it can be found along
the Park edges, under the powerlines, and along Wildwood Drive
and the bikeway.
Dwarf sumac (R. copallina) has only a few teeth on its
leaflets, and the leafstalks are winged between the leaflets.
Smooth sumac (R. glabra) is similar, but lacks the
velvety hairs on the twigs. Neither has been reported from
the Park. Fragrant sumac (R. aromatica) is much shorter, and has only 3 leaflets. Poison sumac (Toxicodendron vernix),
which is more dangerous than poison ivy, is found only in swamps,
and most people rarely or never see it.
altissima) has similar leaves, but the flowers and fruits
are different. Also, the leaflets have only one or two
pairs of large teeth.