This shrub forms dense thickets up to 12 feet tall (B). It spreads via root suckers to form large colonies. Its leaves have 11-25 lance-shaped leaflets, opposite on purplish stalks (A). Male and female flowers are found on separate plants in dense clusters; both are pale greenish (C). The fruit forms large upright spikes of red-brown drupes (A,D). The leaves turn a bright reddish purple in the fall (E).
Grows along woodland borders, prairies and waste places, flowering in May and June. At Neale Woods, common on Jonas and Nebraska Prairies. In Fontenelle Forest, only a few plants were found along upper Camp Gifford Road.
Smooth Sumac likes to invade prairies. Natural prairie fires would have kept such invasions in check. On Neale Woods prairies this plant is controlled by cutting and controlled periodic burning.
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