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Skunkbush Sumac, Squawbush Sumac
Scientific Name: Rhus trilobata Nutt.
Synonym: Schmaltzia trilobata, Rhus aromatica var. flabelliformis, Rhus aromatica var. trilobata
Family: Anacardiaceae
Skunkbush Sumac, Squawbush Sumac (Rhus  trilobata)
Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. Illustrated flora of the northern states and Canada. Vol. 2: 483.
Recommended Temperature Zone:
sunset: 1-3,10-13
USDA: 4-6

Heat Tolerance: Difficult in the low deserts

Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade

Origin: Western North America, from Oregon to Texas, Baja California

Growth Habits: Fast growing deciduous shrub, slow growing to 2 to 8 feet tall (0.6-2.4 m), generally below 4 feet tall, spreading to 6 to 10 feet (1.8-3 m); leaves with 3 leaflets, 2 to 3 inches long (5 to 7.5 cm), with paler underside, with a somewhat unpleasant smell when crushed, can look similar to poison oak

Watering Needs: Little to no water when established, good drainage

Propagation: Seeds need to be scarified, softwood cuttings


Herman, D.E. et al. 1996. North Dakota tree handbook.

Blooming Habits:
The Squawbush Sumac is generally dioecious, flowering in late spring, with inconspicuous white to creamy yellow flowers

Fruiting Habits:
The fruits come on female plants, they are orange red, round and hairy, 0.25 inch long (6 mm). They ripen in the fall but persist through the winter. They are edible and can be used to make a lemonade tasting drink. Some people are allergic to the fruit.


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