Rhus copallinum L.

  • Family: Anacardiaceae
  • Common names: winged sumac, flameleaf sumac, shining sumac
  • Synonym: no synonyms (R. copallina L. misapplied?)

    Shrub or rarely small tree. Twigs thick, reddish-brown, finely hairy, with sticky yellowish sap. Leaves pinnately compound, up to 30 cm (12 in) long, with broad winged rachis. Leaflets lanceolate, paired, 2.5-7.5 cm (1-3 in) long, mostly without teeth, shiny-glabrous above and pale below, turning dark red to purple in late Summer and Fall. Flowers many, small, greenish-white, crowded on thick panicles about 12 cm (5 in) long at ends of leafy stems. Fruits many, crowded, about 3 mm (0.1 in) in diameter, dark red when ripe, turning gray and remaining through the Winter.

    Distribution: The species is native to about the eastern half of the United States.
    Habitat: prairies, rock outcrops, roadsides, old fields.
    Comment: Winged sumac forms large clones by vegetative reproduction in abandoned fields and along roadsides. Rhus is the ancient Latin name; copallinum means "gum copal" and refers to the resemblance of the dried sap to that of the copal tree.
    NWI status: none

    Distribution in Oklahoma:

    Last update: 9/17/99
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