Earth–Kind® Plant Selector Home
Start a Search

Common Name:

Prairie Flameleaf Sumac

Scientific Name:

Rhus lanceolata

Family Name:



Prairie Flameleaf Sumac is a small native Texas tree that suckers to form colonies. The large pinnately compound leaves and moderately coarse sparsely branched limbs result in a rather unattractive winter form, but the dark glossy green leaflets in summer and super red fall color are serviceable. Yellow-green flowers are mildly interesting in summer and the terminal clusters of red-brown drupes on female trees add fall and early winter interest. This species can be a seriously invasive weed and rarely the sap can be a dermal irritant to some people. Finer textured than most other tree-form Rhus spp., but still coarse in winter.

Plant Habit or Use:

Shrub, large shrub, tree, small tree



Flower Color:

Yellow-green, mildly interesting

Blooming Period:


Fruit Characteristics:

Red-bropwn drupes in tight conical terminal clusters on female trees


10 ft to 15 ft


10 ft to 15 ft on individual trees, suckers indefinitely

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:

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:

Easily grown in all but soggy soils; avoid pruning back the trunk or damaging the bark to decrease suckering; very drought and heat tolerant.
Click for Larger View Click for Larger View Click for Larger View Click for Larger View

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.