Rhus typhina

Staghorn Sumac




  • native to Canada down through the United States
  • zone 4

Habit and Form

  • a large open shrub or weedy tree
  • flat-topped crown
  • colonizes and suckers
  • 15' to 25' tall
  • spread si difficult to determine because it colonizes
  • coarse texture
  • fast growth rate

Summer Foliage

  • alternate leaf arrangement
  • pinnately compound leaves
  • leafs are 1 to 2 feet long
  • 13 to 27 leaflets
  • each leaflet is lanceolate in shape, 2" to 5" long
  • leaflets have a serrated margin
  • leaf rachis is long and hairy

Autumn Foliage

  • yellow, orange to red fall color
  • very showy


  • dioecious
  • borne in large hairy panicles
  • male flower head larger than female
  • blooms in June


  • crimson, pyramidal panicle of seeds
  • matures in late August
  • persists


  • extremely hairy stems
  • concealed lenticels
  • stout stems
  • aromatic
  • older stems are not pubescent


  • easily transplanted
  • soil adaptable
  • suckers
  • full sun to partial shade

Landscape Use

  • massing
  • woods edge
  • naturalistic areas
  • bank covers


  • Verticillium Wilt
  • aphids, scales, rusts and mites

ID Features

  • greenish yellow flowers
  • red fruit spikes
  • alternate pinnately compound leaves
  • c-shaped leaf scars
  • extreme pubescence on leaves and branches
  • stout stems
  • concealed lenticels


  • by seed
  • by cuttings


'Dissecta' - This is a cut-leaf form with more deeply divided leaflets than 'Laciniata'. It is a female form with red fruit and brilliant red fall color. It is difficult to distinguish from 'Laciniata' unless both are present together, plus the two forms are confused in the trade.

'Laciniata' - This is a fine-textured form cultivated in large-scale naturalistic gardens. The leaflets are divided to create this airy feel, though the dissection is supposedly less extreme than 'Dissecta'. They are confused in the trade, though fairly common at specialty nurseries.

© Copyright Mark H. Brand, 1997-2015.

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Citation and Acknowledgements: University of Connecticut Plant Database, http://hort.uconn.edu/plants, Mark H. Brand, Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Storrs, CT 06269-4067 USA.