Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Winged Sumac, Shining Sumac, Flame-Leaf Sumac
Rhus copallina

Family: Anacardiaceae (an-a-kard-ee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Rhus (roos) (Info)
Species: copallina (kop-al-EYE-nuh) (Info)

4 vendors have this plant for sale.

12 members have or want this plant for trade.

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15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

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:
Sun to Partial Shade

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:
Pale Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall

Grown for foliage

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

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:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

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By melody
Thumbnail #1 of Rhus copallina by melody

By SShurgot
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There are a total of 27 photos.
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7 positives
2 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Rickwebb On Aug 22, 2014, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

A handsome native shrub that I have seen wild in the acid, sandy soil of southern Delaware. Morton Arboretum has planted it in their silty, neutral pH soils where it also does well. I believe that the arboretum has a cultivar named after itself called 'Morton'.

Positive FlyPoison On Nov 8, 2012, FlyPoison from Rock Hill, SC (Zone 7a) wrote:

A nice native addition to any woodland edge in the south:
Attractive shiny summer foliage
Can grow in full sun or light shade here in the south.
Doesn't tend to be invasive here.
Beautiful scarlet foliage
Pretty berries can be used to make refreshing drink.
Berries attract song and game birds.

Neutral tidy On Nov 5, 2012, tidy from Lakewood, CO (Zone 5a) wrote:

While some neighbors have totally eradicated their trees, I love mine. They make a good screen and the fall color is great. The fall shedding is not! Not only do the leave shed, minor branches (stems?) do too. The sap also stinks! And it is irritating to skin. I find it hard to spread, especially where I want it. Perhaps the lack of other trees nearby makes it infertile. It does occur in odd places, but ceases to grow when cut off.

Negative k1870 On Nov 5, 2012, k1870 from Fenton, MI wrote:

I have found all types of Sumac very invasive. They are like the dandelion of the tree world and are just as difficult to eradicate from your lawn/yard. We had a steep hill behind our house and they were growing and taking over everything. They were half way up the hill in just 3 years and had to treat several times to make a dent in them. They seem to spread through their root systems. I despise this plant and whereas it is quite lovely in the fall that is all it has going for it. Unless you harvest the dried red flowers off from the one(s) that produce them for mid eastern cuisine. We have 3 types of sumac here in Michigan and they are all invasive and take over wherever they are. My understanding is that the sumac with the white flowers is considered poison sumac. Not 100% certain on that but fairly certain.

Positive LipLock On Feb 9, 2009, LipLock from Austin, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

This small tree is a native to the very alkaline soils of Central Texas. It is fast-growing and easy to transplant and the leaves give a fantastic show in the fall.

Positive jackieshar On Sep 25, 2005, jackieshar from Texas/Okla central border
United States (Zone 7b) wrote:

Beautiful small understory tree beneath the oaks and mulberries on this southern Oklahoma acreage. Suckers to form small colonies. Mahogany colored berries remain on the tree thru the winter months and are a great source of food for the birds and wildlife. The leaves turn a flame red in early October as a signal to our late coming autumn.

Neutral BingsBell On Aug 26, 2004, BingsBell from SC, MT (Zone 5a) wrote:

I have to go with a neutral on this little tree.

I have had mine going on twenty years now and it fills a little English garden I have at the front of my house. It fills it so good that almost everything has been taken over by it. I have just a small amount of grass to mow in that little garden and it is filled with new shoots each time it is mowed. The beds are so invaded that I can no longer keep up with it. The little concrete sidewalk is heaved up because of it. It is growing out of the basement window wells.

It is more than a little invasive and until fall comes, I hate it. The colors are absolutely beautiful in the fall. Who can hate a tree that makes such a pretty picture in the fall.

Positive melody On Aug 22, 2004, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:

A common sight in the fence-rows and fallow fields here in West KY. Huge stands line the roadways filling the area with early, brilliant Fall color.

A large shrub or small tree, most folks tend to let this plant remain wild, as it can get invasive in yards.

Great food source for birds , the berries remain attractive all winter.

Positive frostweed On May 14, 2004, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

The Flameleaf sumac is a lovely small tree with wonderful fall color.
Mine has bloomed every year but has failed to set fruit. I wonder if it might need cross polination? Even wihtout the fruit it is lovely and we enjoy it very much. It does sucker some, but that allows me to pot the shoots and give them to other gardeners.

Positive AusTXpropagater On Sep 8, 2003, AusTXpropagater from Austin, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Flame-leaf sumac, native to Central Texas, tends to form thickets via rhizomes and suckers. It grows prolifically in our semi-arid climate and limestone gravel soil. Untended, along roadsides, it generally only grows to 4 or 5 foot shrub size or less. In my garden, with regular watering and amended soil, it very quickly becomes a moderate-sized tree, 10-20 feet. I can attest to the excellent fall color. Bees and wasps visit its tiny yellow-white flowers, but its seeds do not produce nearly as many offspring as its wandering roots. While somewhat invasive, I find the suckers (from shallow rhizomes) fairly easy to rogue out. This shrubby tree does not produce dense shade and therefore accommodates bedding plants underneath it.


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

Athens, Alabama
Mobile, Alabama
Opelika, Alabama
Deer, Arkansas
Morrilton, Arkansas
Denver, Colorado
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
Bartow, Florida
Chiefland, Florida
Clearwater, Florida
Daytona Beach, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Lisle, Illinois
Benton, Kentucky
Clermont, Kentucky
Georgetown, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Independence, Louisiana
Zachary, Louisiana
Brighton, Michigan
Fenton, Michigan
Howell, Michigan
Natchez, Mississippi
Saucier, Mississippi
Billings, Montana
Eufaula, Oklahoma
Jay, Oklahoma
Bluffton, South Carolina (2 reports)
Florence, South Carolina
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Ladys Island, South Carolina
Lexington, South Carolina
Arlington, Texas
Austin, Texas (2 reports)
Brownwood, Texas
De Leon, Texas
Hondo, Texas
Lipan, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Peterstown, West Virginia

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