Dwarf Sumac, scientifically known as Rhus copallinum, is a shrub from eastern North America. It is a member of the Anacardiaceae family, including poison ivy and cashews. This plant is also called Winged Sumac, or Shining Sumac due to its distinctive features and vibrant autumn foliage.
It typically reaches 3 to 6 feet (1 to 2 meters) and has a spreading, multi-stemmed growth habit. One of its most recognizable characteristics is the presence of winged stems. These slender, corky wings run along the sides of the branches, giving the shrub a unique and eye-catching appearance. The stems and leaves exude a pleasant citrusy scent when crushed, adding to its appeal.
During the summer months, it produces compound leaves with serrated edges that are typically divided into 9 to 21 leaflets. The foliage is a glossy green but truly shines in the fall when it undergoes a stunning transformation. As autumn arrives, the leaves turn brilliant shades of red, orange, and scarlet, creating a striking display of color that enhances the landscape.
Dwarf Sumac Is A Hardy Shrub
In addition to its aesthetic appeal, it provides ecological benefits. The small greenish-yellow flowers it produces in late spring or early summer are a valuable nectar source for pollinators like bees and butterflies. The red, fuzzy fruit drupes are a favorite food source for various bird species and small mammals.
This hardy shrub is adaptable to various soil types and can flourish in full sun to partial shade. It is often used in landscaping for slope erosion control, in naturalistic gardens, and as a low-maintenance ornamental plant. However, it should be noted that it can spread through underground rhizomes, so it may require occasional maintenance to prevent it from becoming invasive.
In summary, Dwarf Sumac, with its winged stems, vibrant autumn foliage, and ecological significance, is a notable and attractive shrub native to eastern North America, making it a valuable addition to gardens and natural landscapes alike.
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