Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Staghorn Sumac, Velvet Sumac
Rhus typhina

Family: Anacardiaceae (an-a-kard-ee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Rhus (roos) (Info)
Species: typhina (ty-FEE-nuh) (Info)

5 vendors have this plant for sale.

16 members have or want this plant for trade.

View this plant in a garden


15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:
Chartreuse (Yellow-Green)

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:
4.6 to 5.0 (highly acidic)
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

Click thumbnail
to view:

By kennedyh
Thumbnail #1 of Rhus typhina by kennedyh

By Joy
Thumbnail #2 of Rhus typhina by Joy

By arsenic
Thumbnail #3 of Rhus typhina by arsenic

By arsenic
Thumbnail #4 of Rhus typhina by arsenic

By kennedyh
Thumbnail #5 of Rhus typhina by kennedyh

By Joy
Thumbnail #6 of Rhus typhina by Joy

By plantzoo
Thumbnail #7 of Rhus typhina by plantzoo

There are a total of 15 photos.
Click here to view them all!


3 positives
4 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral coriaceous On Mar 8, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This suckering shrub is commonly confused with saplings of the weedy, widely invasive tree-of-heaven, Ailanthus altissima---as in the one negative review below.

Staghorn sumac suckers from wide-spreading roots to form large multistemmed colonies many yards across---rather like bamboo. It's not a plant for a small residential yard or garden, unless you confine the roots or enjoy the never-ending job of pulling out sumac suckers. It does not mix well with other shrubs or perennials in a border or foundation planting.

Its spread can be arrested by a metal or heavy plastic root barrier a foot deep. This will have a dwarfing effect. Eventually the colony will decline, the soil will need renewal, and some suckers will need replanting.

It's a tough, drought-tolerant plant that's excellent for highway medians and banks and other large sunny spaces. In a large lawn or campus setting, a clump can be controlled like bamboo by mowing around it. If you have the room to grow it, you might consider the cutleaf cultivars like Tiger Eyes TM.

In late summer to early fall, the leaves are the first to turn---a fiery orange-to-red.

In the garden, it can be aggressive, but it is not invasive in natural areas, and it appears on no state invasive plant or noxious weed list. The Wisconsin DNR recommends planting it where space is available:

Positive SuburbanNinja80 On Jun 12, 2011, SuburbanNinja80 from Plainfield, IN (Zone 6a) wrote:

Am gold going to have to get one of these for my tropical back yard. I all ready have the smooth sumac seeds on the way. But, its better than the Tree of heaven sumac... can't kill the tree even if you try. On the other hand if you have the Navite type that look like the tree of heaven then your good to go in my book. Only player this sumac or the smooth sumac. Then again there maybe a crazy person who plants the posion sumac.

Negative gadgetdan On May 18, 2010, gadgetdan wrote:

I have a 40' Staghorn Sumac in my front yard with a 24" diameter trunk. There are a few issues with it: it drops thousands of seeds a year, leaving me to yank out 5-6 trash cans filled with saplings each year from my yard. In the spring, the pollen casts a horrible stench over my whole yard. If it wasn't for the shade it provides, I would have it removed tomorrow and replaced with a hardwood sapling.

At my old house, the woods bordering my 3 acre yard were filled with them, I had to run a brush hog around the perimeter of the yard to keep them from taking over. They seem to be able to grow almost a foot high in less than a week. Thankfully, the soft wood makes them easy to mow and the straight taproot makes them pretty easy to pull, after wiggling them loose.

Positive VDG On Feb 1, 2008, VDG from McCook, NE wrote:

Nothing would grow in the yellow clay on the south side of my house without constant watering. I planted three plants, 3 years ago and with watering only when I think about it these 3 have become many, developing a lush ecosystem unique to my yard. Almost tropical. They also grow fast providing shade to cool the house. Living on a wind blown clay knob, with 10 inches of precip and with -20 to 110 F temps, I have learned to appreciate any plant that survives.

Neutral Kenotia On Jan 6, 2008, Kenotia from Bedford, TX wrote:

This is a highly invasive plant in western Kansas, called the 'sucker plant' for it's amazing ability to replicate itself so speedily via root suckers. It forms large 'colonies' with the oldest trees in the middle and the younger trees spreading outward and will grow almost anywhere, making it an excellent plant for putting where no other plant will survive but it's spread can be a hard-to-control thing. It has been known to invade and take over gardens and choke out small trees without proper control. and is marked as an invasive weed in Wisconson

The wood is light and brittle, somewhat similar to balsa wood. The berries are sour and can be used in pies, or soaked to make a drink. They shouldn't be boiled, as this makes the drink astringent.

Positive raisedbedbob On Jan 31, 2006, raisedbedbob from Walkerton, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

The fruit can be soaked overnight then diluted and sweetened to make a lemonade substitute.

Neutral RLS0812 On Oct 15, 2004, RLS0812 from Du Bois, PA wrote:

Very nice looking plant. I use it in landscapping. Can grow in almost any soil conditions (ecept for swampy-marshy), and most lighting conditions. Once it is established, it is very hard to unistablish.
Bark from roots is used for leather dye.

Neutral Joy On Oct 12, 2001, Joy from Kalama, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Staghorn sumac is a large, open, spreading shrub or small tree. Fern-like leaves turn attractive shades of orange, yellow and red in autumn. Common name comes from the dense, reddish brown hairs which cover the stems of this plant in somewhat the same way as velvet covers the antlers of a stag (male deer).


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Bass River,
Wetumpka, Alabama
North Fork, California
Buford, Georgia
Boise, Idaho
Glen Ellyn, Illinois
Winnetka, Illinois
Logansport, Indiana
Plainfield, Indiana
Saint Francis, Kansas
Wichita, Kansas
Benton, Kentucky
New Vineyard, Maine
South China, Maine
Cumberland, Maryland
Thurmont, Maryland
Valley Lee, Maryland
Lawrence, Massachusetts
Lunenburg, Massachusetts
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Lake, Michigan
Plainwell, Michigan
New Prague, Minnesota
Mc Cook, Nebraska
Frenchtown, New Jersey
Henderson, North Carolina
Glouster, Ohio
Cheshire, Oregon
Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Du Bois, Pennsylvania
Mountain Top, Pennsylvania
Walnutport, Pennsylvania
Crossville, Tennessee
Dallas, Texas
Mc Kinney, Texas
Montague, Texas
Tremonton, Utah
Bellevue, Washington
Kalama, Washington
Lake Forest Park, Washington
Langley, Washington
Olympia, Washington
Vancouver, Washington
Oconomowoc, Wisconsin

We recommend Firefox
Overwhelmed? There's a lot to see here. Try starting at our homepage.

[ Home | About | Advertise | Media Kit | Mission | Featured Companies | Submit an Article | Terms of Use | Tour | Rules | Privacy Policy | Contact Us ]

Back to the top

Copyright © 2000-2015 Dave's Garden, an Internet Brands company. All Rights Reserved.

Hope for America