Skunkbush (Squawbush; Sumac; Skunkbrush Sumac)
Family: Anacardiaceae – Cashew Family
Shrubs; 1.7' to 8.3' (0.5 to 2.5 m) tall
Leaves: alternate; simple (Rhus aromatica var. simplicifolia), leaves 0.08” to 0.12” (2 to 3 mm) long; or compound with 3 leaflets (Rhus aromatica var. trilobata); leaflets 0.32” to 3.72” (0.8 to 9.3 cm) long, 0.24” to 2.8” (0.6 to 7 cm) wide; leaves 0.08” to 0.12” (2 to 3 mm) long
Flowers: 5 yellowish petals, developing prior to the leaves; 5 sepals; 5 stamens; 3 styles. Polygamous or dioecious. Flowers in compact clusters; 0.08” to 0.12” (2 to 3 mm) long
Pollinators: bees; not self-fertile
Fruits: red or red-orange drupe
Blooms in Arches National Park: March, April, May
Habitat in Arches National Park: dry areas in desert shrub and pinyon-juniper communities
Location seen: park road near visitor center, park road mile 0 to 2.5, Windows, Delicate Arch trail, Fiery Furnace, Tower Arch
Other: The genus name, “Rhus”, is the Greek name for sumac and the species name, “aromatica”, means “aromatic or strong smelling” which refers to the odor of the crushed leaves.
Did You Know?
Pinyon trees do not produce pine nuts every year. These delicious nuts can only be harvested every three to seven years. This irregular schedule prevents animals from adapting to an abundance of pine nuts and guarantees that at least some nuts will become new trees instead of a quick meal.