Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Fragrant Sumac
Rhus aromatica

Family: Anacardiaceae (an-a-kard-ee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Rhus (roos) (Info)
Species: aromatica (ar-oh-MAT-ih-kuh) (Info)

Synonym:Rhus aromatica var. aromatica
Synonym:Rhus aromatica var. illinoensis
Synonym:Schmaltzia crenata

5 vendors have this plant for sale.

10 members have or want this plant for trade.


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 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:
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade


Bloom Color:
Pale Yellow
Bright Yellow
Chartreuse (Yellow-Green)

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring

Good Fall Color

Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
This plant may be considered a protected species; check before digging or gathering seeds

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:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors
Scarify seed before sowing
By serpentine layering

Seed Collecting:
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible

Click thumbnail
to view:

By Toxicodendron
Thumbnail #1 of Rhus aromatica by Toxicodendron

By Equilibrium
Thumbnail #2 of Rhus aromatica by Equilibrium

Thumbnail #3 of Rhus aromatica by WUVIE

Thumbnail #4 of Rhus aromatica by WUVIE

Thumbnail #5 of Rhus aromatica by WUVIE

By frostweed
Thumbnail #6 of Rhus aromatica by frostweed

By creekwalker
Thumbnail #7 of Rhus aromatica by creekwalker

There are a total of 17 photos.
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2 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive kwanjin On May 22, 2012, kwanjin from (Zone 7a) wrote:

I love this plant. I've had it 7 years and it's beautiful. No suckering as with some other Rhus' and the Fall color is a wonderful red.

Positive frostweed On May 31, 2007, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Fragrant Sumac, Rhus aromatica is native to Texas and other States.

Neutral Toxicodendron On Mar 28, 2005, Toxicodendron from Piedmont, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:

This native shrub is a valuable wildlife plant. It's fruit is eaten by birds, raccoons, opossums, chipmunks, and deer.
It is sometimes mistaken for poison ivy, since both plants have 3 leaflets, but close examination reveals that the leaflets do not have stalks, whereas poison ivy leaflets do (the center leaflet). There are other differences in flowers, fruit, etc. Fragrant sumac does not cause skin irritation.
I have pulled this plant out in great quantity because it propagates by runners and my property is overly supplied with it. I leave it in the woodsy areas, but have eliminated it in the flower and vegetable patches. It favors a location at the edge of woods.
There is considerable variability in the characteristics of fragrant sumac over it's broad range from Florida to Texas and north to Michigan and North Dakota.
Native Americans (the Kiowa tribes) mixed the berries with sugar or cornmeal to eat, and brewed a tea from the berries as well.


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

Morrilton, Arkansas
Glen Ellyn, Illinois
Saint Charles, Illinois
Wadsworth, Illinois
Corinna, Maine
Aurora, Missouri
Cole Camp, Missouri
Piedmont, Missouri
Youngstown, Ohio
Hulbert, Oklahoma
Newtown Square, Pennsylvania
Arlington, Texas
Austin, Texas
Crawford, Texas
Harker Heights, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Salt Lake City, Utah
Exmore, Virginia

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