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Common Name:

Smooth Sumac

Scientific Name:

Rhus glabra

Family Name:



Smooth Sumac is a widely distributed North American native shrub or small tree with moderately coarse textured dark glossy green summer foliage and firey red fall color. Individual plants have mostly hemispherical crowns, but tend to sucker to form spreading colonies. Intermediate between Rhus typhina and Rhus lanceolata in coarseness of texture. Useful primarily in naturalized landscapes.

Plant Habit or Use:

Shrub, large shrub, tree, small tree



Flower Color:

Yellow-green, somewhat noticeable, but not overwhelming, dioecious

Blooming Period:


Fruit Characteristics:

On female trees, terminal panicles of fuzzy red-brown drupes


10 ft to 15 ft


10 ft to 15 ft on individuals, indefinite spread on colonies

Earth–Kind® Index:

  • Heat Tolerance: High Heat Tolerance
  • Water Requirements: Low Water Use
  • Soil Requirements: Low Soil Requirements
  • Pest Tolerance: High Pest Resistance
  • Fertility Requirements: Low Fertility Requirements
Explanation of the Earth–Kind® Index breakdown

Firewise Index

Explanation of the Firewise Index numerical value

USDA Hardiness Zones:

4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Regions that intersect these hardiness zones:
Region A - Panhandle and High Plains Region B - North and Central Texas Region C - Northeast and East Texas Region D - West Texas Region E - Upper Rio Grande Region F - Hill Country and Central Coast Region G - Southeast Texas Region H - Rio Grande Valley
Click image for enlarged map of USDA Hardiness Zones

Additional Comments:

Grows nearly anywhere that is not permanently wet; can be a serious weed problem; sap can cause dermal irritation in a few people.
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A Special Note about Cool Season Annuals

Cool season annuals typically are planted in the fall or early winter and flower in early spring under moderate temperatures. This group of plant materials includes: pansies, snapdragons, violas, dianthus, flowering cabbage/kale, etc. Because cool season annuals flower in the spring when conditions are mild, most have limited heat tolerance.

As a result cool season annuals do not receive a high Earth–Kind® index despite their outstanding landscape qualities.