Staghorn Sumac

A red sumac flower sits on a branch surrounded by green leafs


Staghorn sumac grows up to 15’ tall. It’s large, red, fuzzy seed structures may be 10” long. The leaves are alternate and contain 11-31 toothed leaflets. The stems are yellow-brown and fuzzy and resemble the velvet covering developing deer antlers. This shrub typically reproduces through root suckers and is most often found in stands that may be relatively small or covering fairly large areas.

The staghorn sumac is shade intolerant so is most often found along the edges of forests, in forest openings, encroaching on grasslands and fields, and along roadsides. It is most noticeable in late summer and autumn when its green leaves turn brilliant red accented in orange and yellow.

Fascinating Facts

  • Sumac provides a steady supply of food for wildlife throughout the fall, winter, and spring as the seedheads remain on the plant from autumn through late spring.
  • The bark is rich in tannins used in leather production (tanning).
  • It is sometimes used as an ornamental plant in home landscaping where it provides an interesting change of texture and color, especially in autumn.

Find It

Coon Rapids Regional Park
Fort Snelling State Park
Crosby Farm Regional Park
Hidden Falls Regional Park

Want to Help Us Better Understand the Park?

See our iNaturalist project, "The Life of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area" and contribute to it by downloading the iNaturalist app and uploading your sightings of this species, and others, to the project. You can also upload your sightings from your computer.

Last updated: March 7, 2018

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111 E. Kellogg Blvd., Suite 105
Saint Paul , MN 55101


This is the general phone line at the Mississippi River Visitor Center.

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