Staghorn sumac is often used in mass plantings, for naturalizing, or on steep slopes. Its open habit and hairy stems resemble horns on a male deer, giving it its name. It is one of the last plants to leaf out in the spring with bright green leaves that change to an attractive yellow, orange, and scarlet in fall. Among the most recognizable characteristics are large, upright clusters of fuzzy red fruits that appear above the branches in late summer on female plants. They are highly appealing to birds.
This species is native to the Chicago Region according to Swink and Wilhelm’s Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research.
- Family (English) Cashew or Sumac
- Family (botanic) Anacardiaceae
- Tree or plant type Tree, Shrub
- Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
- Native locale Chicago area, Illinois, North America
- Size range Large shrub (more than 8 feet), Compact tree (10-15 feet), Small tree (15-25 feet)
- Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
- Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
- Soil preference Dry soil, Moist, well-drained soil
- Tolerances Alkaline soil, Clay soil, Dry sites, Occasional drought, Road salt
- Season of interest early winter, midwinter, early summer, early fall, mid fall, late fall
- Flower color and fragrance Yellow
- Shape or form Broad, Irregular, Multi-stemmed, Thicket-forming
- Growth rate Fast