Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Staghorn Sumac - Rhus typhina   L.
Members of Anacardiaceae:
Members of Rhus with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Sapindales » Family Anacardiaceae
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DistributionMostly in the Mountains, as well as several Piedmont foothills ranges. Generally does not occur at low elevations in the Piedmont, though a low-elevation population was discovered and photographed in Mecklenburg County in 2020.

This is a Northern species ranging from southern Canada south only to NJ, through the Appalachians to northern GA and AL, and MS.
AbundanceReasonably common to common in the Mountains, but scarce in the upper Piedmont.
HabitatAs with several other tall sumac species, this species favors sunny habitats: old fields, thickets, wooded borders, fencerows, and barrens. It is not found in the shade of forests.
PhenologyBlooms in May and June, and fruits from June to September.
IdentificationThis is a deciduous, very tall shrub to small tree, often growing to 15-20 feet and rarely to 30 feet tall. It has numerous (15-31) leaflets, each somewhat lanceolate and slightly serrate, and about 3-4 inches long. The leaflets are whitened and hairy beneath. However, the species is easily separated from other sumacs by its very tomentose stems and twigs; other sumacs are essentially glabrous on the stems. The red drupes are also very fuzzy. This species grows considerably taller than R. glabra and R. copallinum, as well.
Taxonomic CommentsThe species has often been named as Rhus hirta in the past, but is universally accepted to be named as R. typhina now.

Other Common Name(s)None
State RankS4
Global RankG5
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David Campbell29 January 2020. Photo by David Campbell. Mecklenburg County, near the Cabarrus County line. MecklenburgPhoto_natural
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