(Rhus spp./Anacardiaceae). Sumac contains 100
to 150 species: 100 that grow in Eurasia/Africa, 5 in Central
America and 54 in North America. All species look alike microscopically
and fluoresce under long-wave ultraviolet light. One species,
R. vernicifera, is used for Oriental lacquer.
Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina./Anacardiaceae) is native to North America, from Quebec to Maine, southern Ontario, northern Michigan, Wisconsin,
and Minnesota; south to northeastern Iowa, Illinois, Indiana,
northern Kentucky, West Virginia, and Maryland. In mountainous
areas, it extends south to Virginia, North Carolina, northern
Georgia and central Tennessee.
The largest of the native
sumacs , Staghorn sumac is classed as a large shrub reaching 40
ft (12 m) high and 1 ft (0.3 m) wide at base. Fast-growing, sumacs
are short-lived plants that serve as cover and food for wildlife.
The its copious fruits are consumed by many species of birds and
mammals, while the leaves are also eaten by mammals. Sumacs can
be shrubs, vines or trees with alternate pinnately compound leaves,
which may be evergreen or deciduous. The flowers, produced in
small clusters, are yellowish green and turn into velvety bunches
(staghorns) in the fall. The fruits berry-like, small, and round
or oval, and contain a pit and seed. The leaves turn to red, purple
and yellow in the fall. Tannins can be obtained from bark and
The wood of sumac is ring
porous to semi-ring porous, with a whitish gray sapwood streaked
with yellow or green. The heartwood is olive-green to greenish
yellow to russet brown with dark streaks. The wood, which fluoresces
under ultraviolet radiation, is lightweight, soft, and brittle,
with a high luster. Sumac is easily air-dried without cracks or
checks. The fresh-cut wood exudes a sticky fluid at the cambium
(junction between bark and wood); both the sap and wood cause dermatitis.
Although it frays on turning, sumac wood is easily worked with
sharp tools. It is used for novelties, carvings and turned items.
Characteristics found in the Sumac,
Staghorn (Rhus typhina):
- Ring to semi-ring porous
- Coalesced/Confluent parenchyma
- Spirals in vessels
- Simple perforations
- I/V pits small (4-7)
- Uniseriate, heterocellular rays
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