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Skunkbush Sumac

Rhus trilobata

Pen & Ink illustration © by Michael Plagens

Drawn from live specimen found in Maricopa County, Arizona.

LEAVES: Compound leaves have three segments which have rounded lobes. All the foliage will release pungent resinous terpenes on being crushed or rubbed against. In autumn, like many sumacs, the deciduous leaves turn a glorious orange-red. Few people get dermatitis from this plant.

SHRUB: A woody shrub usu. 1 to 3 meters tall and often forming broad thickets.

RANGE: Skunkbush is really a plant of higher, moister elevations than typical Sonoran Desert. Deep shady canyons, however, even in some suprisingly hot locations will have populations of Skunkbush.

FRUIT: Red berries with conspicuous trichomes and a sticky texture.

FLOWERS: Whitish flowers are arrayed in compact panicles blooming mostly in spring, but sporadically at other times of the year.


Anacardiaceae -- Sumac Family

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2009