SMOOTH SUMAC
File Size: 127 KB
 
Rhus glabra  L.
Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Perennial shrubs
Height: 2-15 feet
Family: Anacardiaceae - Cashew Family
Flowering Period:   May, June
Stems: Erect, rigid, glabrous, with raised air pores, somewhat waxy, reddish purple when young, grayish when mature, forming dense thickets.
Leaves: Alternate, stalked, 12 to 20 inches long, odd-pinnately compound; leaflets 11-31, lanceolate to oblong-lanceolate, 2.5 to 4 inches long, .75 to 1.25 inch wide, dark green and glossy above, whitish below; margins coarsely toothed; tips pointed.
Inflorescences: Panicles, dense, pyramid-shaped, 4 to 10 inches long, terminal.
Flowers: Staminate, pistillate, and bisexual; staminate flowers small, yellowish green; calyces 5-parted, petals 5, distinct, ovate; stamens 5, anthers yellow; pistillate flowers similar, in smaller clusters, more densely flowered; stigmas yellowish.
Fruits: Drupes, spherical, red, pubescent, inconspicuous, erect clusters 4 to 6 inches tall; seeds smooth, yellowish.
Habitat: Dry upland prairies, roadsides, waste areas, and edges of woods.
Distribution: Throughout Kansas.
Forage Value: Deer and sheep sometimes consume the leaves.
Uses: Sumac thickets provide shelter for wildlife. Native Americans used the drupes medicinally to treat sunburn and sores and to make red and black dyes; the flowers to treat sore mouths; the roots to treat sore throats and to make a yellow dye; and sometimes smoked the dried red leaves.
Comments: The fruits appear in August and September and remain through the winter. The leaves turn bright red in the autumn.

Smooth sumac flowers
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Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Smooth sumac flowers
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Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Smooth sumac fruiting
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Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Smooth sumac in fruit
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Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Chase County, Kansas
Smooth sumac
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Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Chase County, Kansas
Smooth sumac fruit
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Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Chase County, Kansas
Smooth sumac leaves in autumn
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Russell County, Kansas
Smooth sumac buds
28 KB
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Chase County, Kansas
Smooth sumac bud
28 KB
Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Smooth sumac fruit
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Chase County, Kansas
Smooth sumac fruit
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Shawnee County, Kansas
Smoot sumac bud
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Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas