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Home > Features > Living Well > Food > Wild Garden > The Red Sumacs

GreenSense- The Wild Garden

The Red Sumacs

Smooth Sumac
Red Sumacs

Skunkbush Sumac

Staghorn Sumac
Smooth Sumac
Rhus Glabra
Skunkbush Sumac
Rhus triloba
Staghorn Sumac
Rhus Typhina

Almost anywhere you go in the contiguous U.S. you'll find at least one of the edible Sumacs. Smooth Sumac has the widest range, covering most of the East and Midwest. Staghorn is next. It's found in New England, the Great Lakes, and as far south as northern Alabama. Look for Squawbush in California and the Rocky mountain States.

Unfortunately, the bad reputation of Poison Sumac (and it's relatives, Poison Ivy and Oak) makes people shy away from the idea that anything named "Sumac" might be edible. But the fact is that at least three Rhus relatives are useful as food. And they're easy to distinguish from their dangerous cousins. You don't even need a picture. All you need to know is that the poisonous ones have white berries; the edible species have red berries.






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