Smooth Sumac

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Peanut

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Smooth Sumac

This is Rhus glabra aka Smooth Sumac, a small tree or large shrub. It's well know in the south for making sumac tea. The tea is very lemon like in flavor, a distinct citrus flavor. It's also high in vitamin C. Making tea is as simple as...

Pick several clusters of berries for use. You can slightly crush the berries to help aid in releasing their flavor. Soak the berry clusters in a pitcher of cold water over night or longer to enhance the flavor. Be sure to use cold water, as hot water can destroy the vitamin C content.

Next, strain the tea through a coffee filter or cheese cloth to remove the berries and particles from the fruit so all you are left with is the tea. Enjoy! You can add sugar, honey or other additives of your choice to suit your palate.


The dried berries are ground to make sumac spice, available for purchase on amerzit. It has an ancient history as a spice used in the middle east and is commonly used in middle eastern restaurants here in the states.

Sumac is also used as a dye for cloth and leather. It's very high in tannins so needs nothing else to set the dye.


These tannins also make it medicinal, it's very astringent/drying. The inner bark can be used in a poultice to stop bleeding.

I took these photos of Smooth Sumac this afternoon... It's in full bloom, the berries are ripe in late summer.

Smooth Sumac (1)a.JPGSmooth Sumac (3)a.JPGSmooth Sumac (4)a.JPG
 
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Tootsie

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There are different kinds of sumac. Our go to sumac is known as stag horn, with red flowers, though I have seen white on first year growth. White here is poison sumac, so check and double check any plant new to you. Not you, Peanut, just a thought to people new to foraging.
Peanut, don’t you just love to roll those ripe flowers in your hand for that lemonade like taste?
 

Biggkidd

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Very cool thanks. I do believe I've seen some of that around here.
 

Peanut

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The one big thing to remember about poison sumac (Toxicodendron vernix), that sets it apart from plants in the Rhus genus is that it likes wet feet...

Meaning it grows in flat swampy, boggy areas that are underwater parts of the year.

If it's growing on a hillside away from bogs/swampy areas it's not poison sumac. Sumac's will grow next to a bog but not in a bog.

Sumacs (Rhus genus) have red fruit when it ripens.

Poison sumac fruit is always white.
 

joel

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I have that plant.
It is a bee plant that blooms late.

Months of nectar flow are 6 June & 7 July.

Sumac
[3]
Rhus glabra67mixed with other honeysferalmajor
 

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