Genus Rhus, L. (Sumach)

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Leaves - compound (odd-feathered; leaflets eleven to thirty-one); alternate; edge of leaflets evenly and sharply toothed. Outline - of leaflet, narrow egg-shape. Apex - long, taper-pointed. Base, rounded or slightly heart-shaped. Leaflet/Stem - lacking. Leaf/Stem - densely velvety-hairy. Leaflet - usually two to four inches long and about one fourth as wide; the under surface whitish and more or less downy. Leaf - one or two feet or more in length. Branchlets - and stalks, especially towards their ends, covered with a very dense velvet-like down, often crimson-tinged. The just is milky and acid. Flowers - greenish-yellow, in upright, pyramid-shaped bunches at the ends of the branches. June. Berries - rounded, somewhat flattened, bright crimson velvety, crowded. Stone - smooth. Juice, acid. September, October. Found - from New Brunswick and the valley of the St. Lawrence through the Northern States, and southward along the Alleghany Mountains to Central Alabama. General Information - A small tree, ten to thirty feet high (or often a shrub), with straggling and evenly spreading branches that are leaved mostly toward their ends, giving an umbrella-like look to the tree. The wood is very soft and brittle; yellow within; the sap-wood white. The young shoots with the pith removed, are used in the spring as “sap quills” in drawing the sap from the sugar maples. The downy and irregular branchlets are suggestive of the horns of a stag, whence the name. An infusion of the berries is sometimes used as a gargle for sore-throat. This species is not poisonous. A variety with deeply gashed leaves (var. laciniata) is reported from Hanover, N. H.


Trees: Q-S


Newhall, Charles S. The Trees of North-Eastern America (New York: The Knickerbocker Press, 1900) 197


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