Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/Edible Wild Plants/Sumac

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Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book
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Sumac


Description: It grows to 3-10 m tall, and has alternate, pinnately compound leaves 25-55 cm long, each with 9-31 serrate leaflets 6-11 cm long. The leaf petioles and the stems are densely covered in rust-colored hairs. The fruit of staghorn sumac is one of the most identifiable characteristics, forming dense clusters of small red drupes at the terminal end of the branches; the clusters are conic, 10-20 cm long and 4-6 cm broad at the base. The fruit appear during autumn, at which point the foliage turns a brilliant red. Sumacs are considered some of the best fall foliage around. The fruit has been known to last through winter and into spring.

Where found: From Ontario and Quebec south to northern Georgia and Mississippi.

Availability: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Use: The fruit drupes can be bruised and then soaked in water to make a refreshing lemonade-like drink.

WARNING: Avoid the Poison Sumac tree which is easily identified by its white flowers. Contact with poison sumac will cause a rash (like poison ivy).
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