There was a fair amount of interest in the sumac, so I decided to talk about the other kind in my kingdom, Staghorn Sumac, Rhus typhina.
These are weedy little trees, but they are sometimes grown as ornamentals for the bright red fall color and the clusters of red fruit.
They like to grow as transition trees at edges. That's just what they do here, working their way out from the mature trees in the cemetery into the field.
These were familiar trees of my childhood. The wood is soft and my dad considered them junk trees, so he didn't care how many I cut to build forts, make arrows, etc. There were always more the next year!
It gets its common name from the fuzzy appearance of the young shoots. They look like the branched antlers of a deer in velvet.
The leaves are compound, with up to 15 leaflets on each side. Of course they turn wonderful colors in the fall. Primarily red, but see the link below for a stunning clump that looked tropical.
And the fruits (there are male and female trees), are an upright cluster of red drupes (little fruits with a single seed in each). They are easy to spot, even from a distance. If you can catch them when they are very new you can make a lemonade from them. Apparently the ground-up clusters are valued as a spice in some parts of the world.
I've got some soaking to see if I get a decent beverage on this try. Usually it just isn't worth it.
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