Rhus aromatica

Fragrant Sumac

Plant Type: Shrub
Sun: Partial Shade, Sun
Water: Occasional, Regular
Height X Width: 5' X 10'
Santa Clara County Local: No
What do these mean?



Fragrant sumac is widespread across California and North America. For some reason it has never colonized the Santa Cruz Mountains. It grows as an expanding open thicket of gray branches with dark green leaves with three lobed leaflets. The leaves look very much like those of poison oak, Toxicodendron diversilobum. The easiest way to distinguish the two plants is to check for a petiole, the little stalk that attaches the leaf to the stem. Fragrant sumac leaves do not have a petiole. Poison oak leaves do have one. Fragrant sumac has inconspicuous yellow/white flowers followed in summer by red flattened berries on female plants. This plant will spread via underground rhizome and layering (node sprouting) in a well-draining site with at least six hours of sun. The fall colors of this deciduous shrub are noteworthy.


Deer Resistant: No
Attractive to Bees: Yes
Attractive to Butterflies: Yes
Good Under Oaks: Yes
Evergreen or Deciduous: Deciduous