E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Rhus glabra L.
smooth sumac
Anacardiaceae (Sumac family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Brian Klinkenberg  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #4399)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Rhus glabra
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Species Information

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Deciduous shrub up to 3 m tall; bark smooth; branches glabrous or sparsely hairy near the flowers, exuding milky juice when cut.
Leaflets 7-29, oblong-lanceolate to elliptic, saw-toothed, 5-12 cm long, turning golden to scarlet in fall.
Inflorescence in large, dense, compound, pyramid-shaped panicles; petals 1-2 mm long, abruptly sharp-pointed, yellowish.
Berrylike drupes, 4-5 mm long, reddish, hairy, somewhat flattened.
Often used as an ornamental due to its bright fall colors.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Mid Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Summer to Fall
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Dry to mesic open streambanks and forest openings and margins in the montane zone; infrequent in SC and SE BC; E to PQ and S to FL, TX and MX.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Rhus glabra

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 283 495 1000
Slope Gradient (%) 0 34 100
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
80 207 340
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 2 6
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BG(28), ICH(1), IDF(10), PP(26)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Rhus borealis Greene
Rhus calophylla Greene
Rhus glabra var. cismontana (Greene) Cockerell
Rhus glabra var. laciniata Carrière
Rhus glabra var. occidentalis Torr.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References