Audubon® Flameleaf Sumac
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Celebrate fall with Winged Sumac! When nights get frosty, this gorgeous native turns smoking-hot shades of orange and red. When the sun shines through the leaves, they glow like hot coals. Your local wildlife will enjoy Winged Sumac for different reasons. Native bees and beneficial flies, wasps, and beetles will visit the summer flowers. Caterpillars, such as the regal moth, the showy emerald moth, and the red-banded hairstreak butterfly feed on the foliage. In winter, birds come to graze on the reddish-brown fruits produced on female plants. A beautiful, benevolent plant for native gardens, semi-wild spaces, and backyard wildlife habitat.
May Benefit & Attract: cardinals & grosbeaks, wrens, sparrows, thrushes, orioles, finches, mockingbirds & thrashers, vireos, wood warblers
Take Birds Under Your Wing
New! Introducing our bird-friendly collection of Audubon® Native Plants & Trees
- Better for Birds, 100% Neonic-Free
- Not Available in non-native regions, states or counties (see Native Regions map)
Bower & Branch is proud to grow Audubon® Native Plants for Birds in partnership with the National Audubon Society to help birds and other wildlife thrive.
- The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow
- This bird-friendly native plant provides food and shelter for local and migrating birds and other wildlife
- Your purchase and planting of this native flora directly supports Audubon’s conservation mission and impact
- Learn how you can help birds in your home and community through Audubon’s Plants for Birds program
- Audubon Native Plants & Trees are free of neonicotinoids and exclusively grown by Bower & Branch
Audubon® is a licensed and registered trademark of the National Audubon Society. All rights reserved.
- Hardiness Zone: 4-8
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Winged Sumac, a.k.a. Shining Sumac, a.k.a. Flameleaf Sumac, is an inhabitant of dryish soils across the eastern U.S. It develops into a large shrub or small tree and spreads at a moderate pace via suckers. Like some other species of American Sumac, Winged Sumac was once used in the tanning industry because of the tannins in its bark. The dark, fuzzy fruits were also popular among rural folks. They can be steeped in water to produce a tart but refreshing beverage like lemonade. This species is not to be confused with Poison Sumac, which will give you a nasty rash! That one only lives in swampy areas.
Yet another function of Winged Sumac is as bee habitat. Some solitary bees will burrow into Sumac stems and lay their eggs in the pithy centers. Their offspring will overwinter inside and then emerge in the spring, ready to pollinate your plants. You can help these gentle creatures by pruning some of your Sumac stems to allow the insects easy access through the cut ends.
How to Grow
Give Winged Sumac a spacious, sunny site where its spreading ways will not be a nuisance. Alternately, you can plant it where it will be hemmed in by concrete barriers (this rugged plant also adapts readily to city life). Never put it near more delicate plants. Winged Sumac is not fussy about soil, but the soil must be free-draining. After the plant is established, you’ll seldom need to water. Blasting heat and bitter cold are no problem. Winged Sumac is late to leaf out in spring, so don’t fret if you don’t see action when your other plants are emerging.
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