Flameleaf sumac

Rhus copallina L.

Anacardiaceae (Sumac family)


Flameleaf sumac is a slender-branched shrub or small deciduous tree in the Sumac family. This species usually grows in small mottes or clusters, as the plant can spread by rhizomes (horizontal, usually underground stems that often send out roots and shoots from the nodes).

The leaves are long, narrow, compound and located alternately along the stem. The leaves turn a showy shade of red during the fall. Younger stems are covered in small hairs, but older stems become hairless.

In early summer, small, whitish flower clusters occur on the tips of the branches and mature into rounded, red fruits.

The forage value of flameleaf sumac is fair for goats and wildlife.


This plant grows mainly on rocky hills, woods and bottomlands in the eastern, central and southern parts of Texas.