Author Topic: Sumac Identification  (Read 7876 times)

SJ

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Sumac Identification
« on: June 23, 2009, 12:47:15 PM »
We live on a wooded lot that was partially cleared for our home. One of the succession species that has taken advantage of the available sunlight are winged sumacs. However we have a single example of either Poison Sumac or Smooth Sumac (unless there are other variations I am unaware of in NC). All the information I can find says that Poison leaves are entire and Smooth are toothed as the main way to tell them apart but this example has almost completely entire leaves that show a single tooth or two on either side at the base. The only exception seems to be the last leaflet at the tip which is showing toothing. I have attached pics of the leaf tip above and below. If anyone needs different pictures to help with the ID please just let me know. I have a daughter who loves to be down in our woods with our dogs and would rather she not go through the fun and games of a reaction but equally I understand the Sumacs are great plants for birds so I hate to remove it prematurely. Any help or ideas are gratefully received! Also if anyone knows how I can go about restrict the spread of these via underground runner roots, again I would be glad of the advice. Thanks in advance.

Will Cook

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Re: Sumac Identification
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2009, 06:53:06 PM »
It definitely isn't Poison Sumac. This looks like Ailanthus altissima (Tree-of-Heaven) to me. It's a nasty exotic invasive. Do the leaves smell a bit like rotten peanut butter?

JQ Public

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Re: Sumac Identification
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2009, 01:41:14 AM »
I have a ton of these in my yard, but why don't you think they are Rhus glabra (Smooth Sumac)?  Mine have the red stems and don't get very tall.  They spread everywhere by runners as well.  They colonize a dry slope in our side yard.  From what i read they grow on poor sites.  The side yard of ours is where we had cleared trees and nothing else (including grass) would grow.

Will Cook

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Re: Sumac Identification
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2009, 09:42:57 PM »
You can tell it isn't Smooth Sumac because that has regularly toothed leaflets. Ailanthus leaflets are either entire or have a couple of big teeth. Here's a photo of an Ailanthus I took last weekend, showing some leaflets with a couple of coarse teeth: