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Rhus aromatica - Aiton.
                 
Common Name Lemon Sumach, Fragrant sumac
Family Anacardiaceae
USDA hardiness 3-9
Known Hazards There are some suggestions that the sap of this species can cause a skin rash in susceptible people, but this has not been substantiated. See also notes in 'Cultivation Details'.
Habitats Dry rocks, sands and open woods[43], often on limestone outcrops[149].
Range Eastern N. America - Quebec to Florida and Indiana to Texas.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun

Summary
Bloom Color: White, Yellow. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Rounded, Spreading or horizontal, Upright or erect.

Rhus aromatica Lemon Sumach, Fragrant sumac


Rhus aromatica Lemon Sumach, Fragrant sumac
Jeff McMillian @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database
   
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of shrub
Rhus aromatica is a deciduous Shrub growing to 1.2 m (4ft) by 1.5 m (5ft in) at a slow rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 3 and is not frost tender. It is in flower in April, and the seeds ripen in September. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Bees.The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Synonyms
R. canadensis. R. crenata. non Thunb. Toxicodendron crenatum.

Habitats
Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Fruit;  Oil.
Edible Uses: Drink;  Oil.

Fruit - raw or cooked[2, 22]. The fruit is small with very little flesh, but it is easily harvested and when soaked for 10 - 30 minutes in hot or cold water makes a very refreshing lemonade-like drink (without any fizz of course)[61, 85, 183, K]. The mixture should not be boiled since this will release tannic acids and make the drink astringent. The fruit can also be dried and ground into a powder then mixed with corn meal and used in cakes, porridges etc[183].
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Astringent;  Diuretic.

The leaves are astringent and diuretic[61, 222]. They were used in the treatment of colds, stomach aches and bleeding[222]. The root bark is astringent and diuretic[4, 222]. An infusion can be used in the treatment of diarrhoea, dysentery. Used externally, it is used to treat excessive vaginal discharge and skin eruptions and also as a gargle for sore throats[254]. Its use is contraindicated if inflammation is present[222]. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use[254]. The fruits are astringent and diuretic[254]. They have been chewed in the treatment of stomach aches, toothaches and gripe[222] and used as a gargle to treat mouth and throat complaints[254]. They help reduce fevers and may be of help in treating late-onset diabetes[254]. Some caution is advised in the use of the leaves and stems of this plant, see the notes above on toxicity.
Other Uses
Basketry;  Dye;  Mordant;  Oil;  Soil stabilization;  Tannin.

The leaves are rich in tannin (up to 25%) and can be collected as they fall in the autumn then used as a brown dye or as a mordant[169]. The bark is also a good source of tannin[4]. An oil is extracted from the seeds[4]. It attains a tallow-like consistency on standing and is used to make candles. These burn brilliantly, though they emit a pungent smoke[4]. The plant has an extensive root system and is sometimes planted to prevent soil erosion[200]. The split stems are used in basket making[4, 46, 61].
Cultivation details
Landscape Uses:Border, Erosion control, Foundation, Ground cover, Massing, Seashore, Woodland garden. Succeeds in a well-drained fertile soil in full sun[11, 200]. Tolerates poor soils[169, 200]. Established plants are drought resistant[169]. A very hardy plant when fully dormant, tolerating temperatures down to about -25°c[184]. However, the young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. Many of the species in this genus are highly toxic and can also cause severe irritation to the skin of some people, whilst other species such as this one are not poisonous. It is relatively simple to distinguish which is which, the poisonous species have axillary panicles and smooth fruits whilst non-poisonous species have compound terminal panicles and fruits covered with acid crimson hairs[1, 4]. The toxic species are sometimes separated into their own genus, Toxicodendron, by some botanists[200]. This species is a low suckering shrub[182]. There is a specially low growing form, var. arenaria, that is found growing on sand dunes in the mid-west of N. America[184]. A polymorphic species[43]. Plants are susceptible to coral spot fungus[11]. Plants have brittle branches that are easily damaged in very strong winds[11]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. This species transplants easily[169]. The plant has an offensive smell[149]. Or, to go by another nose, the bruised leaves emit a delicious resinous scent[245]. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required. Special Features:Attracts birds, North American native, Attractive flowers or blooms.
Propagation
Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in hot water (starting at a temperature of 80 - 90c and allowing it to cool) prior to sowing in order to leach out any germination inhibitors[200]. This soak water can be drunk and has a delicious lemon-flavour. The stored seed also needs hot water treatment and can be sown in early spring in a cold frame[200]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame[200]. Root cuttings 4cm long taken in December and potted up vertically in a greenhouse. Good percentage[78, 200]. Suckers in late autumn to winter[200].

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Other Names
Found In
Australia, Canada, Europe, Mexico, North America, Turkey, USA,
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Rhus ambigua 00
Rhus chinensisChinese Gall, Chinese sumac23
Rhus copallinaDwarf Sumach, Winged sumac, Flameleaf Sumac, Winged Sumac, Shining Sumac42
Rhus coriariaElm-Leaved Sumach, Sicilian sumac21
Rhus diversilobaWestern Poison Oak, Pacific poison oak02
Rhus glabraSmooth Sumach43
Rhus integrifoliaLemonade Berry, Lemonade sumac20
Rhus microphyllaDesert Sumach, Littleleaf sumac20
Rhus ovataSugar Bush, Sugar sumac21
Rhus potaninii 02
Rhus punjabensis 32
Rhus punjabensis sinica 32
Rhus radicansPoison Ivy01
Rhus sempervirens 21
Rhus succedaneaWax Tree12
Rhus sylvestris 00
Rhus toxicodendronEastern Poison Oak02
Rhus trichocarpa 00
Rhus trilobataSkunk Bush, Basketbush, Squawbush, Three Leaf Sumac42
Rhus typhinaStag's Horn Sumach, Velvet Sumac, Staghorn Sumac42
Rhus vernixPoison Sumach01
Rhus wallichii 01
Rhus x pulvinata 42
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Expert comment
 
Author
Aiton.
Botanical References
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Links / References
For a list of references used on this page please go here
Readers comment
 
Elizabeth H.
Sun Jul 22 2007

pubmed Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Dorling Kindersley. London 1996 ISBN 9-780751-303148

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