Konza Fragrant Sumac (Rhus aromatica serotina)
To 10′, USDA Zone 5 – Current Availability
Konza Fragrant Sumac grows natively on dry, gravelly well-drained rocky slopes, ravines and roadsides on the eastern plains from South Dakota south to Texas, east to Illinois and Wisconsin. Can tolerate seasonal flooding but prefers well-drained soils. Drought tolerant. Good for windbreaks.
Compound, lobed leaves bluish green, trifoliate resembling poison ivy. Odorous when crushed. High tannin content in the leaves cause them to be unpalatable, natural deer resistance. Also used in tanning leather. Attractive orange to red fall color. Best coloring in full sun.
Small pale yellow flowers before leaves open in spring. Bright reddish orange, sticky, fuzzy berry-like fruit 2 to 3 months after flowering. Important winter food for birds and small mammals.
Full sun but can be grown in partial shade. Can form dense thickets up to 10’ wide by rhizomes or layering and sprouting, creates wildlife cover. Extensive root system good for erosion control. Disease resistant.
Native Americans produced a yellow dye from the roots and made a drink from the berries. Leaves were used in a smoking mixture.