July 16, 2015

Sumac Tree Surprise

Smooth leaved sumac (Rhus glabra)
by Toni Leland

Years ago, a seasoned Master Gardener told me, "Don't be fooled by the title "Master Gardener." You'll never master all of it."
So true! And I learn something new every single day. For instance....

A lovely tree in our back boundary has long, feathery light green leaves and smooth gray bark. Immediate identification: Sumac. Lovely texture against the broadleaf trees on either side. Will be spectacular in the fall when it turns red.

So, summer arrives and I notice that this tree does not have any flowers. Hmmm. Might be too soon.
Flowers on Smooth leaf sumac (Rhus glabra)
Sumac flowers in July
Traveling around the region, I noticed that the wild sumac was exploding with blooms. Hmmm.

Red berries on sumac (Rhus sp)
Sumac Berries (M.Ready, Wikipedia)

A little research and I now understand that our sumac tree is male. I had no idea that these trees were gendered! Only the female trees produce those lovely red pyramidal blooms. As I said – learn something new every day.

I wonder if my guy is lonely...

Shrubby sumacs blaze with red in autumn
Spectacular autumn color!

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