name = Sumac

image_caption = Sumac fruit in fall
regnum = Plantae
unranked_divisio = Angiosperms
unranked_classis = Eudicots
unranked_ordo = Rosids
ordo = Sapindales
familia = Anacardiaceae
genus = "Rhus"
genus_authority = L.
subdivision_ranks = Species
subdivision = About 250 species; see text|

Sumac (pronEng|ˈʃuːmæk or IPA|/ˈs(j)uːmæk/; also spelled sumach) is any one of approximately 250 species of flowering plants in the genus "Rhus" and related genera, in the family Anacardiaceae. The dried berries of some species are ground to produce a tangy purple spice often used in juice. [ [ Sumac - Ingredients - ] ] [ [ Poison Sumach and Good Sumac Shrubs ] ]

Sumacs grow in subtropical and warm temperate regions throughout the world, especially in North America.

Sumacs are shrubs and small trees that can reach a height of 1-10 meters. The leaves are spirally arranged; they are usually pinnately compound, though some species have trifoliate or simple leaves. The flowers are in dense panicles or spikes 5-30 cm long, each flower very small, greenish, creamy white or red, with five petals. The fruits form dense clusters of reddish drupes called sumac bobs.

Sumacs propagate both by seed (spread by birds and other animals through their droppings), and by new sprouts from rhizomes, forming large clonal colonies.

Cultivation and uses

The drupes of the genus "Rhus" are ground into a deep-red or purple powder used as a spice in Middle Eastern cuisine to add a lemony taste to salads or meat. In Turkish cuisine, for example, it is added to salad-servings of kebabs and lahmacun. In North America, the smooth sumac ("Rhus glabra") and the staghorn sumac ("Rhus typhina") are sometimes used to make a beverage termed "sumac-ade," "Indian lemonade" or "rhus juice". This drink is made by soaking the drupes in cool water, rubbing them to extract the essence, straining the liquid through a cotton cloth and sweetening it. Native Americans also used the leaves and berries of the smooth and staghorn sumacs combined with tobacco in traditional smoking mixtures.

Species including the fragrant sumac ("Rhus aromatica"), the littleleaf sumac ("R. microphylla"), the skunkbush sumac ("R. trilobata"), the smooth sumac and the staghorn sumac are grown for ornament, either as the wild types or as cultivars.

The leaves of certain sumacs yield tannin (mostly pyrogallol), a substance used in vegetable tanning. Leather tanned with sumac is flexible, light in weight, and light in color, even bordering on being white.

Dried sumac wood is fluorescent under long-wave UV light. [cite web |url= |format=PDF |title="Rhus" spp. Family Anacardiaceae |accessmonthday=07-14 |accessyear=2008 |author=Center for Wood Anatomy Research |date= |work=technology transfer fact sheet |publisher=USDA Forest service ]

Mowing of sumac is not a good control measure as the wood is springy resulting in jagged, sharp pointed stumps when mowed. The plant will quickly recover with new growth after mowing. See [ Nebraska Extension Service publication G97-1319] for suggestions as to control.


At times "Rhus" has held over 250 species. Recent molecular phylogeny research suggests breaking "Rhus" sensu lata into "Actinocheita", "Baronia", "Cotinus", "Malosma", "Searsia", "Toxicodendron", and "Rhus" sensu stricta. If this is done, about 35 species would remain in "Rhus". However, the data is not yet clear enough to settle the proper placement of all species into these genera. [cite journal | title = Phylogeny and Biogeography of Rhus (Anacardiaceae) Based on ITS Sequence Data | author = Allison J. Miller, David A. Young, and Jun Wen | journal = International Journal of Plant Sciences | volume = 162 | year = 2001 | pages = 1401–1407 | doi = 10.1086/322948] [cite web | url = | title=Molecular Systematics of the Cashew Family (Anacardiaceae) (PhD dissertation at Louisiana State University) | author=Pell, Susan Katherine | date=2004-02-18, pages 103-108]

elected species

"Rhus" sp. nov. A is a so-far unpublished species, endemic to Yemen. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forests, subtropical or tropical dry shrubland, and rocky areas. It was given the status of "vulnerable" by the IUCN Red List. [Miller, A. 2004. [ "Rhus sp. nov. A"] . [ 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. ] Downloaded on 23 August 2007.]

ee also

*List of Southern African indigenous trees




* RO Moffett. "A Revision of Southern African Rhus species" FSA (Flora of South Africa) vol 19 (3) Fascicle 1.
* Schmidt, E., Lotter, M., & McCleland, W. (2002). "Trees and Shrubs of Mpumalanga and Kruger National Park". Jacana. ISBN 1-919777-30-X.

External links

* [ Germplasm Resources Information Network: "Rhus"]
* [ Global Biodiversity Information Facility portal: "Rhus"]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • sumac — sumac …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • sumac — [ symak ] n. m. • XIIIe; ar. summaq ♦ Plante dicotylédone (térébinthacées), arbuste aux nombreuses variétés. Sumac de Virginie. ⇒ amarante. Sumac des teinturiers. ⇒ fustet. Sumac de Sicile, dont on utilise les feuilles en tannerie. Sumac à bois… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • sumac — SUMÁC s.m. Numele mai multor arbori sau arbuşti mediteraneeni cu frunze compuse, bogate în substanţe tanante, dintre care unele specii sunt cultivate şi folosite în industria pielăriei, în medicină etc. (Rhus). – Din fr. sumac. Trimis de claudia …   Dicționar Român

  • Sumac — Su mac, Sumach Su mach, n. [F. sumac, formerly sumach (cf. Sp. zumaque), fr. Ar. summ[=a]q.] [Written also {shumac}.] 1. (Bot.) Any plant of the genus {Rhus}, shrubs or small trees with usually compound leaves and clusters of small flowers. Some… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • sumac — or sumach [so͞o′mak΄, sho͞o′mak΄] n. [ME sumac < MFr < Ar summāq] 1. any of various shrubs and small trees (genus Rhus) of the cashew family, including poison sumac and several nonpoisonous plants 2. the pulverized dried leaves of some of… …   English World dictionary

  • SUMAC — (mishnaic Heb. אוֹג), the Arabic name for the Rhus coriaria. This shrub or low tree, belonging to the family Anacardiadeae, which includes the terebinth and the pistachio , grows wild in the groves of Israel. The tree is dioecious, with pinnate… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • sumac — c.1300, preparation of dried, chopped leaves of a plant of the genus Rhus (used in tanning and dyeing and as an astringent), from O.Fr. sumac (13c.), from M.L. sumach, from Arabic summaq, from Syrian summaq red. Later applied to N.Amer. species …   Etymology dictionary

  • Sumac — Yma Sumac, 1953 Yma Sumac (* 10. September 1922 in Ichocán, Peru; † 1. November 2008 in Silver Lake, Los Angeles, Kalifornien; Ima sumaq (Quechua: „Wie schön“); auch Imma Sumack oder Ima Sumack; eigentlicher Name Zoila Augusta Emperatriz Chavarri …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • sumac — /sooh mak, shooh /, n. 1. any of several shrubs or small trees belonging to the genus Rhus of the cashew family, having milky sap, compound leaves, and small, fleshy fruit. 2. a preparation of the dried and powdered leaves, bark, etc., of certain …   Universalium

  • sumac — (su mak) s. m. 1°   Genre de la famille des térébinthacées ; on y distingue : le sumac des corroyeurs, rhus coriaria, L. arbrisseau de l Europe méridionale ; le sumac vénéneux, rhus toxicodendrum, L. arbrisseau de l Amérique ; et le sumac au… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

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