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Smooth Sumac (Rhus glabra)

Smooth Sumac is a deciduous shrub that may grow 5 to 10 feet tall. The leaves are alternate, pinnately compound (11 to 31 leaflets) with a toothed margin. The bark is smooth and light brown with numerous lenticels when young. Large, thin scales develop as the tree ages. In late summer, small, yellow flowers mature in dense, upright clusters. The tall shrub produces a cluster of small, red, hairy drupes. Fruits are borne in upright clusters and mature in the fall.


Host for Red-Banded Hairstreak caterpillars. Butterflies nectar at the flowers. Fruits are eaten by songbirds, white-tailed deer, opossums, wild turkeys, and quail. Bark is eaten by rabbits.

Plant Type Shrub
Leaf Type Deciduous
Deer Resistance Moderate
Regions Mountain, Piedmont, Coastal Plain
Light Full Sun, Partial Sun/Shade
Soil Moist, Dry
Bloom Times Summer, Late Summer
Seed Times Late Summer, Fall
Wildlife Value Fleshy Fruit, Butterfly/Insect Nectar, Butterfly Larvae Host
NC Forest ServiceNC Cooperative Extension