Virginia Tech Dendrology

sugar sumac Anacardiaceae Rhus ovata S. Watson Listen to the Latin symbol: RHOV
Leaf: Alternate, simple, evergreen, ovate, leathery, 3 to 4 inches long, sharp pointed, entire margin (maybe toothed), folded along the midrib, shiny green above, paler beneath, fragrant.
Flower: Tight clusters of very small white to pink flowers with 5 petals, clusters occur at ends of twigs and are 2 to 3 inches long, appearing in spring.
Fruit: Elliptical, 1/8 inch across, fuzzy and red in clusters at the ends of the twigs, ripen in late summer and persist into winter.
Twig: Moderately stout, red and green (later turning gray), smooth with small hairy buds nearly hidden by petiole.
Bark: Smooth and grayish brown, later becoming scaly and rough.
Form: Large thicket forming shrub reaching up to 15 feet with a spreading, sprawling crown.
Looks like: lemonade sumac - laurel sumac - hollyleaf cherry
leaf flower fruit twig bark form1 map
Additional Range Information: Rhus ovata is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting sugar sumac.
External Links: USDA Plants Database
All material © 2017 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson