African Sumac, Willow Rhus, Karee

Searsia lancea

Family: Anacardiaceae (an-a-kard-ee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Searsia (SEER-zee-a) (Info)
Species: lancea (LAN-see-uh) (Info)
Synonym:Rhus lancea




Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 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)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Chartreuse (Yellow-Green)


Bloom Time:

Mid Spring


Grown for foliage



Good Fall Color

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


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

Phoenix, Arizona

Sun City, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona (2 reports)

Brentwood, California

Temecula, California

Henderson, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada (3 reports)

North Las Vegas, Nevada

San Antonio, Texas

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Feb 29, 2012, loomis from Las Vegas, NV wrote:

African Sumac's do really well in our climate. They do so well in fact that they are over-planted in Las Vegas. You can not drive down a street and not see at least one. The builder of my subdivision planted one in front of my house 8 years ago and now its a 30 ft tall monster. I love/hate it. Love the Shade, Hate the litter and the suckering roots. Try to avoid female trees(like mine), they dump twice as much litter as males.


On Aug 15, 2009, ipowell from Temecula, CA wrote:

Good and ban: It's a beautiful small tree. It suckers greatly, but you can keep up with it. It is really messy over pavement in the summer. The seeds are a little sticky and stick to shoes, etc. The seeds sprout easily. Mine only gets lots of sunshine on the top and it appears happiest there. Where it doesn't get enough sun, it seems to decline/die back. I'm in an inland valley of Southern California. It's ideal in the winter.


On Oct 8, 2008, agentdonny007 from Las Vegas, NV (Zone 8b) wrote:

Excellent evergreen shade tree for Las Vegas. Can be grown as a multi or single trunk. The african sumac in my front yard attracted a hummingbird to nest in the spring.


On Sep 2, 2008, slatwood from Sun City, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

The bloom is inconspicuous, but profuse, slightly aromatic. I don't think the seed needs stratified. I just crumbled a handful off this summer, scattered them across a standard flat, and got about 12 seedlings....straight from the tree. Phoenix doesn't have much of a winter, usually, to stratify anything, in any case. The birds love the seeds, the hummers and bees love the flowers, the rabbits like the new seedlings (well, I had a dozen!). Quail like the seed, and the cover. I keep mine brushing the ground, to provide cover and when I go back to fiddle with the drip lines --- rabbits and quail scatter. Nests of quail two years, hummer nests almost every year. If you keep it watered DEEPLY and infrequently, you don't get root problems and root suckers. Trunk suckers will pop... read more