• South Window


    National Park Utah

Skunkbush (Squawbush; Sumac; Skunkbrush Sumac)

Rhus aromatica

Rhus aromatica

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?

John Wesley Wolfe

In the late 1800s, John Wesley Wolfe, a disabled Civil War veteran, and his son, Fred, built a homestead in what is now Arches National Park. A weathered log cabin, root cellar, and corral remain as evidence of the primitive ranch they operated for more than 10 years.