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Rhus ovata - S.Watson.

Common Name Sugar Bush, Sugar sumac
Family Anacardiaceae
USDA hardiness 8-11
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 rocky slopes below 800 metres, usually away from the coast, in California[71, 229]. Grows in oak woodlands and chaparral[260].
Range South-western N. America - California, Arizona and Mexico.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Half Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Rhus ovata Sugar Bush, Sugar sumac


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Rhus ovata Sugar Bush, Sugar sumac

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Rhus ovata is an evergreen Shrub growing to 2 m (6ft 7in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 9 and is frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan. The species is 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) and medium (loamy) 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

Habitats

 Cultivated Beds; South Wall. By. West Wall. By.

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit;  Oil.
Edible Uses: Drink;  Oil;  Sweetener;  Tea.

Fruit - raw or cooked[161]. Slightly acid to sweet tasting[229]. The fruit is only 6 - 8mm in diameter[229] with very little flesh, but it is produced in dense racemes and so is easily harvested. When soaked for 10 - 30 minutes in hot or cold water it makes a very refreshing lemonade-like drink (without any fizz of course). The fruit can also be sucked for the tart juice that forms on its surface[183]. A sweetish white sap exudes from the fruit and can be used as an acid flavouring or a sugar substitute[61, 183]. The leaves are boiled to make a tea[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.

Birthing aid;  Pectoral.

An infusion of the leaves has been used in the treatment of chest pains, coughs and colds[257]. An infusion has also been taken just before giving birth to facilitate an easy delivery[257]. Some caution is advised in the use of the leaves and stems of this plant, see the notes above on toxicity.

Other Uses

Dye;  Mordant;  Oil;  Soil stabilization.

The leaves are rich in tannin. They can be collected as they fall in the autumn and used as a brown dye or as a mordant[169]. 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]. Often planted in poor dry soils in America, where its extensive root system helps to prevent erosion[229].

Cultivation details

Succeeds in a well-drained fertile soil in full sun[11, 200]. Succeeds in a hot dry position. Plants are usually found in poor dry soils in the wild[229]. This species is not very hardy in Britain, it may not succeed outdoors even in the mildest areas of the country[200]. One report says that it can tolerate temperatures down to about -5°c[260]. The young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. Plants have brittle branches and these can be broken off in strong winds[200]. Plants are also susceptible to coral spot fungus[11]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. 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]. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

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].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

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 aromaticaLemon Sumach, Fragrant sumac42
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 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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Author

S.Watson.

Botanical References

71200

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Subject : Rhus ovata  
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