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Rhus

Sumac
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Sapindales
Family: Anacardiaceae
Genus: Rhus
Species
Rhus aromatica (fragrant sumac)
Rhus copallina (winged sumac/shining sumac)
Rhus glabra (smooth sumac)
Rhus trilobata (skunkbush)
Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac)
Rhus is a genus of woody shrubs and trees, all with pinnately-compound, alternate leaves and with clusters of reddish drupes, commonly called "sumac" (alternate spelling: sumach).

Note: Some species (including poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac), once placed in this genus, are now placed in the genus Toxicodendron.

The hairy covering of the drupes is harvested and used as a spice in some Middle-Eastern countries. In North America, the smooth sumac, Rhus glabra, and the staghorn sumac, Rhus typhina, are sometimes used to make a beverage, termed "sumac-ade" or "Indian lemonade." This is made by soaking the drupes in cool water, rubbing the active principle off the drupes, then straining the liquid through a cotton cloth and sweetening it.

Species of the genus Rhus in eastern North America:

  • Rhus aromatica (fragrant sumac)
  • Rhus copallina (winged sumac/shining sumac)
  • Rhus glabra (smooth sumac)
  • Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac)

Species in western North America include:

  • Rhus trilobata -- skunkbush sumac



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