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Evergreen Sumac


Rhus virens

Introduce some evergreen sass to your garden with the Evergreen Sumac! This small shrub or tree grows 6-10 ft. high and has spreading branches. During spring and after frost, its shiny, evergreen, pinnate foliage turns pink. And not just any pink, but a pink that comes from its alternate leaves that are 2-5 1/2 inches long and have 5-9 fleshy leaflets on stiff stems. Plus, it's a fast-growing, insect- and disease-free, and drought-tolerant plant that can be used as a hedge, screen, or tree because of its long, straight trunk. And if you're lucky, you might see its inconspicuous, greenish or white flowers with five petals, growing in clusters 12 inches long at the ends of tall branches. The mature fruit is red, broader than long, and covered with fine hairs when it matures in mid-September.

This is a very ornamental sumac that has lustrous, leathery dark green compound leaves which may be tinged with maroon or yellow in cold weather. New leaves are pinkish. In full sun it forms large, dense rounded clumps and takes well to hedging. In shadier sites this plant will be more open and tree-like, and may be pruned to a graceful small tree. It is useful as a screen or background for other plants. In late summer and fall the creamy white flowers, which smell like honey, attract bees and butterflies. Evergreen sumac produces red fuzzy fruit which is relished by birds and small mammals and was once used to make a refreshing drink. The Comanche Indians mixed its sun-cured leaves with tobacco for smoking, and it was also used as a remedy for asthma. Deer are known to browse young plants.

Height: 8’-12’
Spread: 8’-12’
Bloom: June-November
Light: Full Sun, Part Shade, Dappled Shade
Water: Low
Zone: 7, 8, 9, 10
Origin: Texas

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