Smooth Sumac

Rhus glabra

Family Anacardiaceae

Notable Features
Leaves: Pinnate* compound* leaves with 15 to 20 leaflets*. Each hairless leaflet is slightly singly toothed* and symmetrical.
Twigs: Hairless, slightly flattened, reddish and thick twigs with a milky sap.
Bark: Light brown-green bark; smooth.
Fruit/ Flowers: Clusters of red, bristly berries appear at the top of the plant June through October. Old clusters of berries remain throughout the winter.
Size/ Shape: A small shrub* or tree* 4 to 15 feet (1-4 meters) in size.

Location on Campus

(click for map)

Located behind Farber library along along edge of the Brandeis Wetland, also behind the tennis courts on the athletic fields.

Berries can be used to make a delicious, pink lemonade-flavored, cold drink. Berries should be collected between June and October before many heavy rains wash out the acid of the fruits, which produce the distinctive sumac taste. Berries should be bruised and steeped in water overnight; the solution should then be strained through cheesecloth to eliminate the presence of bristly hairs in the drink. Drink ice cold.

Except where specifically noted, all text, photographs, and drawings copyright Chris Bersbach and Lisa Leombruni 2002. No part of this page may be reproduced without the express permission of the authors.