Fragrant sumac is a lively deciduous native shrub of the western United States found growing on dry open slopes and in open woods, riparian thickets, river cobble, and sunbaked rocky flats in the Klamath-Siskiyou region . It is a dense, low-growing, mounded and rambling shrub which spreads by rhizome (suckers) to form thickets. Fragrant sumac is in the cashew (Anacardiaceae) family. Some sources still refer to it by the old name, Rhus trilobata. It typically grows 2-5′ tall and has trifoliate (three leaflets), green leaves that can turn bright, beautiful shades of yellow, orange, red and purple in the fall. The leaves and twigs are considered aromatic when bruised or crushed, hence the species name, aromatica. Superficially the leaves resemble those of poison oak, however, fragrant sumac is not a poisonous plant. Small, creamy yellow flowers bloom on the tips of the branches in early spring before the foliage grows. Female flowers result in clusters of red, hairy and fleshy berries (drupes) in late summer, which may persist into winter. The fruit is attractive to wildlife and is an important winter food for birds. Fragrant sumac is good for stabilizing embankments or for areas with poor soils. It has a mounded or rounded shape and can be used for an informal, low hedge. Deer resistant. Grows best in full sun to part-shade. Drought resistant.
Rhus aromatica seed packets contain 1/2 teaspoon of seed.
Seed Germination Instructions
Soak in hot (not boiling) water for 24 hours, then 60-90 days cold-moist stratification. Sow outside in fall to late winter.