The Rhus typhina shrub, commonly known as the Stag’s horn sumach, in autumn has a brilliant array of colour. It’s an understated large suckering, bushy shrub for most of the year. But once autumn arrives it’s probably the most colourful shrub you can have in the garden.
Along each of the branches hang leaves, like rows of colourful laundry neatly pegged on the washing line. While tiny fine hairs line the branches and give a soft downy feel to the shrub. With the autumnal breakdown of chlorophyll, the combination of colours such as yellow, violet, orange and red turn the leaves into a cornucopia of colours. But they don’t last for long once the wind starts blowing a hoolie.
Each shrub is dioecious and is either a male or a female. The female shrub produces yellowish green cone-shaped panicles in summer which mature into reddish inedible fruits called drupes. These can last well over the winter months and remain on the branches until early spring. Unlike the male shrub, which only produces tiny insignificant flowers that wither away. You can see some more of my fine art leaves from the male shrub over at my print shop.
I’d forgive its suckering habit any day just to have its showy autumn leaves displayed throughout October. Nevertheless if the suckers become a nuisance, just tear them off at the base of the plant rather than cutting them off with secateurs. It takes longer for the shrub to produce new suckers when they have been torn off, as the dormant buds are removed from the base of the plant. You’ll never stop the shrub from suckering, but at least you’ll be able to keep the invasive suckers in check.
Enjoy my photos!
Stag’s Horn Sumach In Autumn