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Fragrant Sumac, Aromatic Sumac, Polecat-bush, Squawbush
Rhus trilobata


Fragrant sumac occurs throughout the Trans-Pecos north into the Texas panhandle, New Mexico, Arizona, California and Mexico on gravelly slopes and plains and limestone outcrops. It is a common, thicket-forming, straggly or irregularly branched to upright shrub, to 8 feet tall. The medium to dark olive-green trifoliate leaves turn orange or red in the fall. Small yellowish flowers open in spring, usually prior to leafing out. When the leaves are crushed they are reported to be aromatic, although not pleasantly so. Another common name for it is skunkbush! Rhus trilobata var pilosossima has densely pubescent, greyish to rust colored leaves. The two varieties occur and overlap in the same areas. It has been cultivated since 1877. Rhus trilobata and Rhus aromatica are so similar appearing that they were once classified under the same name.

Plant Habit or Use: small shrub
medium shrub

Exposure: sun
partial sun

Flower Color: yellowish green

Blooming Period: spring

Fruit Characteristics: red, hairy drupe

Height: 3 to 8 feet

Width: 3 to 4 feet

Plant Character: deciduous

Heat Tolerance: high

Water Requirements:

Soil Requirements: neutral

USDA Hardiness Zone: 6

Additional Comments:

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