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Rhus trilobata Nutt.
Skunkbush sumac, Scented sumac, Ill-scented sumac, Squawbush, Basketbush, Skunkbush
Synonyms: Rhus trilobata var. trilobata, Rhus aromatica var. trilobata
USDA Symbol: RHTR
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
This is a widespread, variable species, consisting of several varieties throughout its range. It is a low, spreading, much-branched deciduous shrub, usually no more than 3 ft. high but spreading as much as 8 ft. The small, trifoliate leaves and the branches are fuzzy. Flowers are yellowish in clustered spikes and are followed by bright crimson to reddish, sticky berries. Fall foliage is colorful.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Shrub Leaf Retention: Deciduous Leaf Arrangement: Alternate Leaf Complexity: Trifoliate Leaf Margin:
Lobed , Serrate Size Notes: Shrub
from 2-8 feet. Leaf:
Green Autumn Foliage:
Orange-red. 1/4 inch. Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Yellow
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr
AR , AZ , CA , CO , ID , KS , MD , MT , ND , NE , NM , NV , OK , OR , SD , TX , UT , WY Canada: AB Native Distribution:
Sask. to WA, s. to Mex. Native Habitat:
Dry to mesic slopes, thickets, canyons & stream banks USDA Native Status: L48(N), CAN(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Sandy, gravelly or other well-drained soils.
Conditions Comments: Squawbush is drought tolerant and useful in erosion control because of its suckering habit. Colonies are often single-sexed, formed from a single, suckering parent. Only female plants produce flowers and berries.
BenefitUse Wildlife: Food and habitat for many upland gamebirds, songbirds, and large and small mammals.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant Foliage: yes
To propagate, use treated seeds, root cuttings, layerings, late spring or early summer softwood cuttings, or separate suckers from parent plants. Seed Collection:
clusters when ripe. The dried clusters can be broken into individual fruits by rubbing or beating in sacks. Seeds may be cleaned before storage or dried with pulp on. Store in sealed, refrigerated containers. Commercially Avail:
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Record Modified: 2009-09-10
Research By: TWC Staff