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Sugar Sumac

Rhus ovata

Details & Attributes


Plant Type(s) Tree, perennial
Native to Arizona Yes!
Water Needs Low
Sun Full sun
Pollinators Bees, butterflies, attracts birds to the fruit
Has Spines No
Size
In relative feet, width by height
6-15' × 6-10'
Freeze Tolerant No
Flowering Season February-May
Flower Color White/pink
Minimum Temperature Range -20 °F
Leaf Description Thick, almost succulent, ovate leaves
Fruit Tart, red, berry
View on SEINet View SEINet Entry
Range Map View SEINet Range Map
Elevation Range 1500-6500 ft.
Ethnobotany Taken for colds, coughs, chest pain, to help with birth, the berries are dried, eaten fresh, made into a porridge, and the sap was used as a sweetener.
Description This sumac is a member of chaparral species assemblages and grows in California and central Arizona. It is very prominent between Phoenix and Sedona. Look for this plant on open, rocky hillsides with Agaves (Agave spp.), Juniper (Juniperus spp.), mountain mahogany (Cercocarpus breviflorus), beargrass (Nolina microcarpa) etc. In California this plant grows in extremely arid habitats such as around Anzo-Borrego park. This species is incredibly drought tolerant when established and could probably be planted in many southern Arizona gardens outside of its natural range.