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Rhus glabra

scarlet sumach

A suckering shrub with smooth, upright shoots and leaves up to 45cm long with dark red stems and shiny, bluish-green leaflets, turning rich red in autumn. In summer bears dense, conical clusters of tiny, yellow-green flowers followed, on pollinated female plants, by spherical red berries

Other common names
smooth sumach
vinegar tree
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Size
Ultimate height
1.5–2.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
5–10 years
Ultimate spread
1.5–2.5 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Clay
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Moist but well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green
Summer Green Yellow Green
Autumn Red Red
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
Aspect

South–facing or West–facing

Exposure
Exposed or Sheltered
Hardiness
H6
Botanical details
Family
Anacardiaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Bushy, Suckering
Genus

Rhus can be deciduous or evergreen shrubs or trees with simple, pinnate or palmately-divided leaves often colouring brilliantly in autumn, and inconspicuous yellow flowers in spring or summer, followed by small, spherical red fruits in dense clusters

Name status

Correct

How to grow

Cultivation

Grow in moist but well-drained soil in full sun to obtain best autumn colour. Suckering growth means that it has the potential to become a nuisance if not managed well

Propagation

Propagate by seed, or semi-hardwood cuttings

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Coastal
  • Flower borders and beds
Pruning

Pruning group 7

Pests

Generally pest-free

Diseases

May be susceptible to honey fungus, coral spot and Verticillium wilt

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