Rhus copallinum / Winged Sumac
Smooth Sumac and Winged Sumac are both large shrubs (or small trees) that are familiar as a native species that grows wild in open areas. Both can reach anywhere from a few feet to 15 feet tall. Rhus copallinum can grow to have a twisting, meandering trunk and canopy-like crown, with flowers (and eventually fruits) that give the tree a tropical appearance. Both thrive in wild areas where it grows in strands on hillsides or edges of disturbed buildings in foundation spoils. Their fruits can stay on the plant into spring, making them critical food sources for birds in winter. In addition to these aesthetic characteristics, the striking crimson fruits and leaves of Rhus copallinum can be ground and mixed with tobacco for smoking. The berries of both species can also be made into a red 'lemonade' type drink that is tangy but not as sour as fresh lemonade. Sumac has a long history as an herbal medicine, and people have and do use it to treat everything from reproductive issues to stomachaches to fever. Winged sumac is an excellent plant for tough sites with poor soils and strong sun.
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Plant delivery is free within the City of Beacon. Deliveries outside the City of Beacon are by a $65/hour fee, which includes travel and placement of material.