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)
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Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Grown for foliage


Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Other details:

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


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

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

Bangor, Maine

New Vineyard, Maine

South China, Maine

Cumberland, Maryland

Thurmont, Maryland

Valley Lee, Maryland

Holyoke, Massachusetts

Lawrence, Massachusetts

Lunenburg, Massachusetts

Roslindale, Massachusetts

Lake, Michigan

Plainwell, Michigan

Barnum, Minnesota

Brainerd, Minnesota

New Prague, Minnesota

Mc Cook, Nebraska

Frenchtown, New Jersey

Manorville, New York

Oswego, New York

Henderson, North Carolina

Bass River, Nova Scotia

Glouster, Ohio

Cheshire, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

Downingtown, Pennsylvania

Du Bois, Pennsylvania

Mountain Top, Pennsylvania

Walnutport, Pennsylvania

Crossville, Tennessee

Dallas, Texas

Mc Kinney, Texas

Montague, Texas

Tremonton, Utah

Leesburg, Virginia

Bellevue, Washington

Kalama, Washington

Lake Forest Park, Washington

Langley, Washington

Olympia, Washington

Vancouver, Washington

Appleton, Wisconsin

Oconomowoc, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On May 26, 2015, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

It is a lovely native shrub or small, multi-trunk tree that is still common over a wide range in NA. It has compound foliage like Black Walnut or even similar to the horrible Tree-of-Heaven from China, where it should have stayed. This sumac's twigs are densely hairy and it grows bigger than the similar Smooth Sumac that has hairless twigs. It develops a great red autumn color. Its red fruit, on female plants, feeds birds and other wildlife. It is not eaten by deer, which is why it is still doing well, liking upland, dry soils best. It ground suckers a lot to make a colony, so it is not for small, refined landscapes, but great for big ones, naturalistic ones, or parks.


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, dr... read more


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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).