At Native Forest Nursery we grow bare root seedlings and #3 container trees. Our container trees are grown in a #3 air pruned pot. This root making container eliminates nearly all potential for root wrapping. This allows for an excellent root structure and delivers an extremely healthy tree. The bare root seedlings at our nursery are grown in a sandy loam soil with high organic matter content, which provides an extremely healthy environment for our seedlings. Our bare root liners and seedlings are hand lifted, packaged, and kept in cold storage until you are ready to plant. Conservation uses for our products include reclamation, mitigation, reforestation, restoration, wildlife habitat improvement and wetland uses. Horticultural uses for our products include field liners, container liners, landscape plantings, budding stock, grafting stock and ornamental uses.

Family: Anacardiaceae
Latin Name: Rhus copallinum
Foliage: Green
Fall Foliage: Orange and red
Bloom: Greenish-yellow
Bloom Time: June
Shape: Rounded to spreading
Bark: Silvery gray with raised lenticels
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Zone: Zone 10 to Zone 5
Size: 12 to 18 feet
Spread: 12 to 18 feet
Care: Medium, well drained soil

Cultivated throughout the eastern and south-central United States, with a 5-10 hardiness zone rating and a range sprawling from southern Maine to eastern Texas, the Shining Sumac is suited to medium, well-drained soils. It tolerates clay, loam, sand, and acidic soil, and has a high drought and cold tolerance. This species thrives best in full sun to partial shade, and is regularly planted in lawns, on buffer strips, along roadsides, and even in urban sites, as it tolerates both air pollution and poor drainage. Its bark is thin, delicate, and gray, supporting drooping, brittle branches, winged leafstalks (resulting in the epithet “Winged Sumac”), and a thick, lustrously green canopy. These gleaming leaves—which “Shining Sumac” aptly refers to—transform into fiery shades of red and gold in the autumn, explaining another of the tree’s nicknames: “Flameleaf”.

The Shining Sumac’s golden-green flowers emerge in the summer and are borne in panicles, later replaced by bright red clusters of berries which cling to the female plant’s branches throughout the autumn. The fruit has an agreeable, slightly acidic flavor, and can be soaked in a glass of water for 10-15 minutes to give it a citrusy zest. It’s also used as a subtle yet flavorful spice in Middle Eastern cuisine. Boiling the fruit isn’t recommended, as this releases tannic acids and makes the flavor quite bitter. Both the flowers and the fruits attract a variety of upland birds and mammals including white-tailed deer, grouse, cottontail rabbits, and squirrels; more than 300 species of songbirds alone feast on the Shining Sumac’s berries.

You may have heard of the Shining Sumac—or, according to its scientific taxonomy, Rhus Copallinum—by its alternative epithets; these include “Dwarf Sumac”, “Winged Sumac”, “Shining Sumac”, and “Flameleaf”, and each of them pays tribute to one of this deciduous Anacardiaceae species’ attributes. The common nickname “Dwarf Sumac” is in acknowledgment of this fast-growing tree’s humble height, since this species usually grows no taller than 10-20 ft. with a respective 10-20 ft. span and a rounded canopy. It can just as easily be cultivated as a multi-stemmed shrub as it can be a small tree.