Rhus aromatica

Fragrant Sumac




  • native to eastern United States
  • hardy to zone 3

Habit and Form

  • a deciduous shrub
  • 2' to 6' tall
  • 6' to 10' spread
  • irregular crown and dense
  • branches have ascending tips
  • suckers
  • medium texture
  • slow growth rate

Summer Foliage

  • alternate leaf arrangement
  • trifoliate, deciduous leaves
  • ovate leaf shape
  • coarsely toothed
  • 3" to 5" long
  • pubescent
  • underside
  • glossy dark green

Autumn Foliage

  • orange to reddish-purple fall color
  • showy


  • dioecious
  • yellow flowers
  • blooms in late March
  • 1" long catkins (male)
  • short, terminal panicles (female)


  • hairy, red drupe
  • female plants only
  • matures in August
  • persists
  • borne in terminal panicles


  • not ornamentally important


  • transplant from containers
  • full sun to mostly shade
  • prefers acidic, well-drained soil
  • soil adaptable
  • suckers

Landscape Use

  • massing
  • woods edge
  • naturalistic areas
  • bank covers
  • groundcover


  • leaf spot
  • rusts
  • aphids
  • mites
  • scale

ID Features

  • trifoliate leaves
  • yellow, pubescent buds
  • buds are covered by leaf scar


  • by seed
  • by root cuttings


'Gro-low' - This plant has become very popular -- especially in the Midwest -- for its tolerance of diverse and difficult cultural conditions. It forms low mounds of lustrous foliage that usually do not exceed 2' with a spread to 8' wide. It is a female form that forms red fruits. 'Konza' is another dwarf form, to 2' tall.

'Green Globe' - A larger growing cultivar, this plant can reach 6' and forms a dense, rounded plant.

© Copyright Mark H. Brand, 1997-2015.

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Citation and Acknowledgements: University of Connecticut Plant Database, http://hort.uconn.edu/plants, Mark H. Brand, Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Storrs, CT 06269-4067 USA.