Staghorn Sumac Is Dioecious

Photo Credit: Jean Carr

Staghorn Sumac puts on a startling display of color in the fall. It is a pleasing sight, especially in the fall, when the leaves turn extremely colourful. It is dioecious, with male and female flowers on separate plants.

Quick Growing Guide

Botanical Name: Rhus typhina

Botanical Family: Anacardiaceae

En français: Sumac vinaigrier

Colour:

Sun / Shade:

Water: Low water requirements

Soil:

Pollinators:

Hardiness Zones:

Male and Female Flowers

Staghorn Sumac female flowers.
Female flowers.
Photo Credit: Krzysztof Ziarnek, Kenraiz, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Staghorn Sumac Male Flowers
Male Flowers
Photo Credit Krzysztof Ziarnek, Kenraiz, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Female flowers produce showy pyramidal fruiting clusters (up to 8″ long), each containing numerous hairy, berry-like drupes that ripen bright red in autumn and gradually turn dark red as they persist through much of the winter.

Male flowers are small, greenish-white or yellow in colour, and form dense terminal panicles.

Male flowers bloom from May to June, while female flowers bloom from June to September.

Habitat

Staghorn Sumac natural habitats are sandy and rocky sites and abandoned fields. They are easily grown in full sun to part shade in average, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils. Staghorn Sumac are adaptable to many soil types, but they must be well drained. They are generally adaptable to urban environments. In the wild, this suckering shrub will form thickets through self-seeding and root suckering; for this reason, it is not recommended in small gardens as it suckers and spreads quickly..

It is named after the horns of a male deer (stag) due to its soft, velvety, antler-like branches.

Does best on well-drained, sandy, poor-quality, dry, sterile soils but is adaptable.

A row of staghorn sumac, with yellow-green leaves
A row of Rhus typhina, with yellow-green leaves

Caring for Staghorn Sumac

They can be invasive for most shrub borders. Spreads by root suckers. Easily transplanted. Best on hard-to-cover areas with poorer soils or for naturalizing in wild areas. Adaptable to other soil types but does best on well-drained, sandy, poor-quality, dry, sterile soils. Tolerates city conditions.

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