Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Evergreen Sumac, Tobacco Sumac, Lentisco
Rhus virens

Family: Anacardiaceae (an-a-kard-ee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Rhus (roos) (Info)
Species: virens (VEER-enz) (Info)

6 members have or want this plant for trade.


8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Flowers are fragrant
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Unblemished fruit must be significantly overripe before harvesting seed; clean and dry seeds

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By SShurgot
Thumbnail #1 of Rhus virens by SShurgot

By SShurgot
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By htop
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By SShurgot
Thumbnail #7 of Rhus virens by SShurgot

There are a total of 19 photos.
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3 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral njf On Jun 11, 2010, njf from Red Oak, TX wrote:

After reading good reviews of this Evergreen Sumac, we'd like to try it, but can't find anyone in the Dallas/Waxahachie area that carries it. Does anyone know where we might find it?

Positive broncbuster On Aug 16, 2009, broncbuster from Waxahachie, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

A great shrub for year-round interests and LOW maintenance! It can also be propagated via cuttings. Thanks to Mitch for the beautiful plant!

Positive MitchF On Jan 22, 2008, MitchF from Lindsay, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Wonderful plant, green and then purple in winter, flowers are nice and the red berries too that hold the seeds. I love this plant and would not live without one in my yard if I could!

Positive htop On Jul 20, 2005, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Usually found on rocky slopes of Southeast Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Mexico, this attractive native tree or large shrub is evergreen except in the coldest winters (below 5 degrees). It can attain a height of up to 12 feet tall (3.6 m) and a width of 15 feet. Sometimes it can be found in a tree form (up to 15'). It has a moderate growth rate. The leathery, shiny dark green leaves are paler colored on their undersides.

Young twigs are red and green with a gray fine fuzz and later turn gray and smooth. The buds are small,hairy and nearly hidden by petiole. The bark is light gray and smooth; when the specimen ages, it becomes scaly with a reddish brown coloration under the scaly patches. The whitish-cream to pale yellowish-white, small blooms are in loose 2 to 4 inch long terminal or axillary clusters. They appear in late summer and sometimes almost cover the plant. The orange-red to red, 1/4 inch across, hairy, sticky fruit is an egg-shaped, somewhat flattened drupe which is borne borne on panicles. It ripens in late fall, but perists through the winter. Only female plants produce flowers and fruits. Colonies can be found that are single-sexed and have been formed from a single, suckering parent plant.

The ripe fruit are a favorite of songbirds and this is important to other wildlife as well. It is not deer resistant; deer love the young plants.Native Americans collected the fruits to use in making a refreshing drink.

It can be killed by overwatering so the soil in which it is planted needs to be well drained. With its dark grren leaves, blooms and red fruit, the Carolina buckthorn makes an attractive specimen, hedge, or background plant. It is generally insect and disease-free, drought-tolerant and should be planted more often in the landscape.


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

Austin, Texas (3 reports)
Crawford, Texas (2 reports)
Helotes, Texas
Hondo, Texas
Kerrville, Texas
Pipe Creek, Texas
San Antonio, Texas (2 reports)
Tarpley, Texas
Waxahachie, Texas

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