Rhus typhina, “Staghorn Sumac”

By Sabrina  |  July 2, 2018  |  Piece of the Park

Rhus typhina, also known as the Staghorn Sumac, is a tall shrub that can grow to 25 feet. The leaves reach up to 2 feet in length, and can be awe-inspiring in the fall, when the leaflets hang lazily from the leaf, throwing off intense shades of yellow, red, purple and orange in a riotous display. Staghorn Sumac is a dioecious, meaning that male and female flowers form on different plants. The greenish-yellow flowers are borne in June through July, forming a dense, hairy panicle if female, and a looser and wider panicle if male. The fruit is interesting to look at because it is an 8-inch long, hairy, brick-red pyramidal cluster. A truly beautiful display can be seen in Northern Pennsylvania in later summer, where you can find massive colonies of Staghorn Sumac. The Conservancy plans to add more Staghorn Sumac to Riverside Park to augment the plantings at the View Shed (located on the west side of the Promenade, from 86th – 91st Streets), and the Butterfly Meadow (located at the north end of the 119th Street Tennis Courts, west of the Bird Sanctuary). The photos are from a garden of mine and are of a “cut leaf” cultivar of Staghorn Sumac.

– Matthew Morrow
Manager of Operations