Monday, April 09, 2007

Staghorn Sumac Mystery

The mystery plant that the robins were eating is staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina). Patti of 2nd Grade Teacher blog gave me the identification. According to my National Audubon Society Field Guide to Wildflowers: Eastern Region:
The soft hairy covering on the branches, resembling that on a deer's antlers when in velvet, accounts for the common name. The species name indicates the supposed resemblance of the branches to cattails (Typha). Its bark and leaves are a source of tannin, and the downy fruits are eaten by many songbirds and game birds, particularly in winter. False Poison Sumac (R. michauxii), a southern species found from Virginia to Floria, resembles a dwarf Staghorn Sumac, but its leaflets are green and downy on the underside.
Patti adds:
We use it to make tea, sometimes. It makes a pinkish, lemony liquid - very refreshing. I like to make my Christmas wreath from sumac, but I feel guilty taking it away from the birds!
Thank you Patti!



  1. Your pictures are really great. Thanks so much for visiting My Photo Blog.

  2. I just wanted to say I loved your photos of the Robins...our Robins tend to flock here around late February and then they take off for parts I know where they head ;).

  3. Thanks for the ID. I wasn't sure what the plant was.


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