PLANT: Evergreen shrubs or small trees, to 5 m tall, densely leaved; old bark shaggy; twigs reddish, puberulent then glabrate. LEAVES: simple, entire, repand, ovate (sometimes broadly so), 4-8.5 cm long, 3-5 cm wide, leathery, bright green, glabrous, conduplicate (tending to fold along the midrib, especially in dried specimens); tip acuminate; base rounded-truncate; petioles 10-20 mm long. INFLORESCENCE: dense panicles, 2.5-3.5 cm long, glabrous; bracts ovate, sparsely pubescent, to 2 mm long. FLOWERS: to 5 mm long; sepals magenta, ciliate; petals cream to pinkish, ciliate. FRUIT: lenticular-orbicular, 5-7 mm in diameter, dark reddish, glandular-pubescent, viscid. NOTES: Open, rocky hillsides with interior chaparral and at upper edge of Sonoran Desert, sometimes along washes: Coconino, Gila, Graham, Maricopa, Mohave, Pinal, and Yavapai cos.; 550-1900 m (1800-6200 ft); Mar-May; s CA and Baja CA to AZ. The populations of Rhus ovata in AZ are disjunct from the Transverse and Peninsular Ranges of southern California. Its broad, shiny, evergreen leaves make Rhus ovata conspicuous on chaparral and desert hillsides. REFERENCES: John L. Anderson, 2006, Vascular Plants of Arizona: Anacardiaceae. CANOTIA 3 (2): 13-22.
Anderson 2007, Turner et al. 1995, Benson and Darrow 1981, Wiggins 1964
Common Name: sugar sumac Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Tree General: Evergreen shrub or small trees to 5 m tall, densely leaved; old bark shaggy, twigs reddish, puberulent then glabrate. Leaves: Simple, entire, repand, ovate, 4-8.5 cm long, 3-5 cm wide, leathery, bright green, glabrous, folding along midrib; tip acuminate, base rounded-truncate, petioles 10-20 mm long. Flowers: Dense panicles, 2.5-3.5 cm long, glabrous; bracts ovate, sparsely pubescent to 2 mm long; flowers to 5 mm long, magenta sepals, ciliate, cream to pinkish petals, ciliate. Fruits: Sticky, lenticular-orbicular drupes, 5-7 mm in diameter, dark reddish, glandular-pubescent, viscid. Ecology: Found on open rocky hillsides from 1,500-6,500 ft (457-1981 m); flowers February-May. Notes: The broad, shiny, evergreen leaves, reddish twigs, and sticky drupes help to distinguish this species. Ethnobotany: Taken for colds, coughs, chest pain, to help with birth, the berries are dried, eaten fresh, made into a porridge, and the sap was used as a sweetener. Etymology: Rhus is derived from rhous, an ancient Greek name for Sumac, while ovata means ovate. Synonyms: Rhus ovata var. traskiae Editor: SBuckley, 2010