Smooth Sumac (Rhus glabra)
The native Smooth Sumac is most often used as a shrub with up to 25 stems. It can be rejuvenated by cutting the plant to the ground every few years. Like most other sumacs, Smooth Sumac is shade-intolerant The plant is an excellent choice on sites with poor soil.
The 12 to 18 inch leaves are made up of 11 to 31 alternately placed leaflets which are a medium green during the growing season. It the fall they turn to a red orange, scarlet, or even a striking red velvet color. The 2 to 4 inch long leaflets are lance shaped and are finely hairy underneath.
The greenish white flowers are borne on upright panicles up to 8 inches long, appearing in June to August. The fruits are drupes borne in panicles. They are dark red, round and hairy, 1/8 inch long. The panicles droop when mature. The fruit matures in September to October but persists through the winter.
Smooth Sumac Choices
Cismontana is a more drought tolerant, western ecotype. Laciniata has leaves that are finely divided.