Hansen's Northwest Native Plant Database


Rhus trilobata (Three Leaf Sumac, Skunkbush)

Kingdom

 Plantae Plants

Subkingdom

 Tracheobionta Vascular plants

Superdivision

 Spermatophyta Seed plants

Division

 Magnoliophyta Flowering plants

Class

 Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons

Subclass

 Rosidae

Order

 Sapindales

Family

 Anacardiaceae Sumac family

Genus

 Rhus L. sumac

Species

 Rhus trilobata Nutt. skunkbush sumac

The name Skunkbush was given this shrub due to the odd odor emitted when the leaves are crushed.

This sumac is a deciduous 3-8 shrub with a dense rounded habit.

It is native to dry sunny regions across most of the western US and as far east as Texas in USDA zones 3-9.

Native Americans produced baskets from the branches, a black dye from the leaves and used the berries in ointments.

The yellow flower clusters appear before the three lobed glossy leaves in spring.

The red berries are edible but not considered tasty, the birds like them and they persist into winter as a food source.

The fall leaf color provides a vivid display of bright reds and yellows.

  

     Above left, autumn color from Albuquerque BioPark on Flickr; above right, blooms from Sally King, NPS.

Below left, green fruits; below right, ripe fruits, both photos from Stan Shebs. Photos above and below per Creative Commons.    

    
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Contact:  star@chillirose.com ~ Copyright 2012 Wallace W. Hansen ~ All rights reserved