Rhus typhina - Staghorn Sumac
Family: Anacardiaceae

Hear the scientific name

Rhus typhina grows rapidly, tolerates most exposures and poor soil but is short-lived. Sumacs are among the most adaptable shrubs but may be regarded as weeds. The main ornamental feature is outstanding bright red autumn color. Its common name, Staghorn Sumac, is derived from its fuzzy twigs.

F   E   A   T   U   R   E   S

-upright spreading deciduous shrub

-can eventually become a rather large shrub

-to 35' tall x 35' wide in the wild, usually multi-stemmed and seldom reaches this height; 15-20' x 15-20' in landscape situations

-slow to medium growth rate on old wood; fast on suckers

foliage2 foliage Foliage

-alternate, compound pinnate, entire leaf 1-2' long, 13-27 leaflets 2-5" long x 1-2"

-bright green in summer

-mixture of yellow, orange and scarlet in autumn


-dioecious (plants with male flowers only, female flowers only) or polygamous (plants with both male and female flowers)

-female flowers develop into bright red fruit spikelets in autumn


-female borne in dense, hairy panicles 4-8" long; male in bigger, looser, wider panicle

-male and female flowers bloom in June to early July


-bright crimson in early autumn becoming duller and darker in winter; often still colorful into spring

-late Aug.-Apr.

-densely, hairy drupe in a terminal pyramidal panicle


-dense, velvety reddish brown pubescence on younger stems

-older stems gray and smooth


-not applicable

C   U   L   T   U   R   E


-full sun to partial shade

-adapts to many soil types, but prefers a well-drained soil

-do particularly well in a dry soil situation

-suckers profusely and forms wide colonies

-moderate availability

-no significant pests or diseases


-zones 3 to 8


-native to Quebec to Ontario, south to Georgia, Indiana, Iowa

U   S   A   G   E


-adaptable to stressful conditions

-erosion control due to suckering rooting ability

-foliage that becomes a mixture of colors in autumn

-no serious insect or disease problems


-get out of bounds with age

-keep suckers controlled to keep the plant within its allotted space


-mass planting for naturalizing and embankments, but in some gardens it can be used as a specimen because of its interesting growth habit


-medium texture in foliage, coarse when bare; cultivars fine in foliage, coarse when bare

-thick density in foliage, coarse when bare

S   E   L   E   C   T   I   0   N   S

Varieties and Cultivars - Search OSU PlantFacts for additional plants in this species


-spreading shrubs


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