Prairie Flameleaf Sumac – Rhus Lanceolata



Prairie Flameleaf Sumac – Rhus lanceolata

Overview: Prairie Flameleaf Sumac, scientifically known as Rhus lanceolata, is a deciduous shrub or small tree native to the central and southern United States. It is prized for its stunning fall foliage, which turns brilliant shades of red, orange, and yellow. This hardy plant is highly adaptable to a range of soil types and environmental conditions, making it a valuable addition to landscapes seeking vibrant seasonal color and ecological benefits.


Typical Uses:

Prairie Flameleaf Sumac serves various purposes in garden and landscape design:

  • As a focal point in garden beds and borders, providing striking fall color
  • In naturalized areas and wildlife habitats, supporting local fauna with its berries and shelter
  • In erosion control on slopes and embankments, stabilizing soil with its extensive root system
  • As a hedge or screen, offering privacy and seasonal interest

Establishment and Care Instructions:

Planting: Choose a site with well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade. Prairie Flameleaf Sumac is adaptable to various soil types, including rocky and poor soils. Dig a hole twice as wide and as deep as the root ball. Place the plant in the hole, ensuring the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface. Backfill with soil and water thoroughly.

Watering: Water regularly during the first growing season to help the plant establish. Once established, it is drought-tolerant and typically requires minimal watering, thriving in dry conditions.

Pruning: Prune in late winter or early spring to maintain the desired shape and remove any dead or crossing branches. Minimal pruning is usually needed beyond maintaining shape and health.

Fertilizing: Prairie Flameleaf Sumac generally does not require fertilization. If soil fertility is very poor, a light application of a balanced fertilizer in spring can support healthy growth.


Special Features and Usage:

Prairie Flameleaf Sumac offers several distinctive features:

  • Foliage: Pinnately compound leaves turn vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow in the fall, providing spectacular seasonal color.
  • Flowers: Small, greenish-yellow flowers bloom in late spring to early summer, forming clusters that attract pollinators.
  • Fruits: Clusters of red, berry-like drupes appear in late summer and persist into winter, providing food for birds and wildlife.
  • Drought Tolerance: Once established, Prairie Flameleaf Sumac is highly drought-tolerant, making it suitable for xeriscaping and low-water landscapes.
  • Low Maintenance: Requires minimal care once established, including occasional pruning and is resistant to most pests and diseases.
  • Soil Stabilization: The plant’s extensive root system helps prevent soil erosion, making it an excellent choice for slopes and embankments.
  • Wildlife Friendly: Provides habitat and food for birds, butterflies, and other wildlife, supporting local biodiversity and ecological health.
Soil Moisture

Well Drained

Light Requirement

Full Sun, Partial Shade

Water Use



5 Gallon


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Prairie Flameleaf Sumac – Rhus Lanceolata
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