littleleaf sumac Anacardiaceae Rhus
microphylla Engelm. ex A. Gray symbol: RHMI3
Leaf: Alternate, deciduous, pinnately compound, 5 to 9 elliptical leaflets per leaf, each generally 1/2 inch long or less, entire leaf 1 to 2 inches long, rachis winged, dull green and a bit hairy above and paler below.
Flower: Species is dioecious; pale, yellow-white and small, borne in dense 2 to 3 inch wide terminal and axillary clusters, appearing in spring before the leaves.
Fruit: A drupe borne on panicles, orange-red to reddish brown, 1/4 inch across, covered with short, sticky, red hairs, matures late summer, but present through winter.
Twig: Slender, stiff, light gray and scruffy; numerous short side twigs some even spine tipped.
Bark: Light gray and smooth; largest specimens may become a bit scaly.
Form: A tall shrub or scrubby, small tree up to 15 feet and typically wide spreading.
Looks like: New Mexico evergreen sumac
Additional Range Information: Rhus microphylla is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting littleleaf sumac.
External Links: USDAFS Additional Silvics - 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