Autumn colors of Winged Sumac
Rhus copallina
Anacardiaceae (Cashew) Family

Winged Sumac is also known as Dwarf Sumac and Shining Sumac.

Plant is a shrub or small tree with a short trunk and open crown of stout, spreading branches. Height is usually no more than 20 feet with a trunk diameter of about six inches. Preferred habitat is open uplands, valleys, edge of forests, grasslands, clearings, roadsides and waste places. Distribution is throughout the Escambia River region.

Leaves are pinnately compound (individual leaflets arranged on either side of the leaf stalk like a feather); about 12 inches long with a broad-winged axis. Leaflets are lance-shaped; usually without teeth; slightly thickened. Shiny green above, paler beneath.

Flowers are small and arranged in tight clusters at the tip of new growth stems; five greenish-white petals.  Male and female flowers are usually on separate plants.

Fruit is small and crowded into tight clusters; dark red or brown.

This shrub is often used as an ornamental in the domestic landscape for its shiny leaves and bright fruit. The sour fruit may be eaten as a trail snack or made into a refreshing drink similar to lemonade. Wildlife forage on the fruit and browse the twigs.

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