Other names: Velvet sumac, hairy sumac
Family: Anacardiaceae (Cashew family)
Range: Native to southeastern Canada, the northeastern and midwestern United States, and the Appalachian Mountains.
Native Habitat: Woodland edges, roadside and wetland edges.
Bloom Time: June to July
Typhina indicates that the branches are rough like antlers with velvet.
Formerly known as Rhus typhina.
The blooms are green – the red is actually the fruit (on female flowers only). There are male and female flowers. The fruits stay on the branches all winter.
These are the largest North American sumacs- growing up to 25 feets. They form colonies, which look very interesting in the winter- without foliage, the branches are very spindly, and you can see the ground beneath the colony all winter.
The foliage turns bright red in autumn.
Native Americans made a lemonade-like drink from the crushed fruit of this and other related species. The fruit and bark are tannin rich and were used to tan hides. The leaves and fruits were boiled to make black ink, and the dried leaves were an ingredient in smoking mixtures.
The spice common in Middle Eastern cuisine is made from the related Rhus coriaria, which is native to Southern Europe.
Locations in Photos:
Two Lights State Park, Cape Elizabeth, ME
Scarborough Marsh, Scarborough, ME
Fort Williams Park, Cape Elizabeth, ME
Castle in the Clouds, Moultonborough, NH
Coastal Maine Botanical Garden, Boothbay, ME
Mackworth Island State Park, Falmouth, ME