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  for JULY

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Products > Rhus virens
Rhus virens - Evergreen Sumac
Image of Rhus virens
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Anacardiaceae (Sumacs, Cashew)
Origin: Southwest (U.S.) (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: White
Bloomtime: Summer
Height: 8-12 feet
Width: 10-15 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 10-15° F
Rhus virens (Evergreen Sumac) - A large semi-evergreen shrub to 8 to 12 feet tall by slightly wider that grows with a dense mounding habit. It has light gray bark and pinnately compound leaves have thick dark green rounded leaflets that are tinged pink when first flushing in the spring, right as the year old leaves, which remain green in all but the coldest locations, are falling off. The leaflets are quite shiny on the upper surface but paler below. Clusters of small unisexual sweetly scented white flowers in summer are borne in 3 inch long panicle at branch tips are followed by showy fuzzy flatted oval red berries on female plants in the fall. Plant in full sun to part shade and in well-drained soils and irrigate infrequently. It is hardy and mostly evergreen to around 10° F and useful in gardens in USDA zones 8 and above. This is a very drought and frost tolerant plant. This plant can make a thick hedge or screen with some time, but can also be trained up as a small tree with a fairly straight trunk. Its flowers and fruit are attractive to both people as well as butterflies, bees and birds. Evergreen Sumac is native to the rocky slopes of southeastern Arizona, New Mexico, central Texas and Mexico as far south as Oaxaca at elevations from 2000 to 7500 feet. In Texas it is a component of the Edwards Plateau and the Trans-Pecos vegetation. The Comanche Indians reportedly mixed its sun-cured leaves with tobacco for smoking and the fruit was used to make a drink. The name origin Rhus is derived from “rhous”, an ancient Greek name for Sumac and the specific epithet means green, likely in reference to this plants evergreen nature. It is also commonly called Tobacco Sumac, Lambrisco and Lentrisco. Our thanks go out to Steve Lowe of Tejas Bulbs in San Antonio, Texas for the seed so we could try this very fine plant in our western gardens. 

This information about Rhus virens displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.