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Toxic parts

There are some suggestions that the sap of this species can cause a skin rash in susceptible people, but this has not been substantiated. See also notes in 'Cultivation Details'.

Edible uses


The following reports refer to R. glabra, but they are almost certainly applicable to this species[K].

Fruit - raw or cooked[1][2][3]. The fruit is small with very little flesh, but it is produced in fairly large panicles and so is easily harvested. When soaked for 10 - 30 minutes in hot or cold water it makes a very refreshing lemonade-like drink (without any fizz of course)[4][5][6][7][8][9][10]. The mixture should not be boiled since this will release tannic acids and make the drink astringent. Root - peeled and eaten raw[11][10]. This report should be treated with some caution due to possible toxicity[12].

Young shoots - peeled and eaten raw[10]. This report should be treated with some caution due to possible toxicity[12].

Unknown part


Material uses

The following reports refer to R. glabra, but they are almost certainly applicable to this species[K].

The leaves are rich in tannin, containing about 10 - 25%[13]. They can be collected as they fall in the autumn and used as a brown dye or as a mordant[14]. The twigs and root are also rich in tannin[8]. A black dye is obtained from the fruit[15]. An orange or yellow dye is obtained from the root[3][16]. An oil is extracted from the seeds[15]. It attains a tallow-like consistency on standing and is used to make candles. These burn brilliantly, though they emit a pungent smoke[15]. The plant has an extensive root system and is fairly wind tolerant, though branches can be broken off in very strong winds. It is planted for soil stabilization and as a shelter screen[17].

Wood - soft, light, brittle[6][8].

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The following reports refer to R. glabra, but they are almost certainly applicable to this species[K].

Smooth sumach was employed medicinally by various native North American Indian tribes who used it to treat a variety of complaints[18]. It is occasionally used in modern herbalism where it is valued for its astringent and antiseptic qualities. Some caution should be employed in the use of this species since it can possibly cause skin irritations. It is best only used under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. A tea made from the bark or root bark is alterative, antiseptic, astringent, galactogogue, haemostatic, rubefacient and tonic[15][19][20][18]. It is used in the treatment of diarrhoea, fevers, general debility, sore mouths, rectal bleeding, uterine prolapse etc[19][21]. It is used as a gargle to treat sore throats and applied externally to treat excessive vaginal discharge, burns and skin eruptions[21][18]. The powdered bark can be applied as a poultice to old ulcers, it is a good antiseptic[15]. A tea made from the roots is appetizer, astringent, diuretic and emetic[19][18]. An infusion is used in the treatment of colds, sore throats, painful urination, retention of urine and dysentery[18]. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use[21]. An infusion of the green or dried branches has been used in the treatment of TB[18]. A decoction of the branches, with the seed heads, has been used to treat itchy scalps and as a bathing water for frost-bitten limbs[18]. The milky latex from the plant has been used as a salve on sores[18]. A tea made from the leaves was used in the treatment of asthma, diarrhoea and stomatosis[19]. A poultice of the leaves has been used to treat skin rashes[18]. The leaves have been chewed to treat sore gums and they have been rubbed on the lips to treat sore lips[18]. The berries are diuretic, emetic, emmenagogue, purgative and refrigerant[15][18]. They are used in the treatment of late-onset diabetes, stranguary bowel complaints, febrile diseases, dysmenorrhoea etc[15][21][18]. They have been chewed as a remedy for bed-wetting[19][18].

The blossoms have been chewed as a treatment for sore mouths[18]. A decoction of the blossoms has been used as a mouthwash for teething children[18]. An infusion of the blossoms has been used as an eye wash for sore eyes[18].


Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions



Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in hot water (starting at a temperature of 80 - 90c and allowing it to cool) prior to sowing in order to leach out any germination inhibitors[17]. This soak water can be drunk and has a delicious lemon-flavour. The stored seed also needs hot water treatment and can be sown in early spring in a cold frame[17]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. This is a hybrid species and will not breed true from seed[K].

Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame[17]. Root cuttings 4cm long taken in December and potted up vertically in a greenhouse. Good percentage[22][17].

Suckers in late autumn to winter[17].

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Rhus x pulvinata. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Easily grown in a wide range of soils, from dry to moist, acidic or alkaline, including shallow chalk soils[12]. Succeeds in a well-drained fertile soil in full sun[23][17]. Tolerates poor sandy soils[17].

A very hardy plant, when fully dormant it can tolerate temperatures down to at least -25°c[17]. However, the young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. A naturally occurring hybrid, R. glabra x R. typhina[23][12]. A very ornamental and variable plant, there are some named varieties[12]. The cultivar 'Red Autumn Lace' (often erroneously labelled as R. glabra 'Laciniata') is a female form that fruits freely[12]. A good bee plant[K]. Single-stem plants are short-lived in cultivation, but if the plants are coppiced regularly and allowed to form thickets, then they will live longer and also be more ornamental with larger leaves[20]. Any coppicing is best carried out in early spring[20]. Plants have brittle branches and these can be broken off in strong winds[17]. Plants are also susceptible to coral spot fungus[23]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[17]. Many of the species in this genus are highly toxic and can also cause severe irritation to the skin of some people, whilst other species such as this one are not poisonous. It is relatively simple to distinguish which is which, the poisonous species have axillary panicles and smooth fruits whilst non-poisonous species have compound terminal panicles and fruits covered with acid crimson hairs[24][15]. The toxic species are sometimes separated into their own genus, Toxicodendron, by some botanists[17].

Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Rhus x pulvinata. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Rhus x pulvinata.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Rhus x pulvinata
Imported References
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
no shade
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
  • Strong wind
Native Climate Zones
None listed.
Adapted Climate Zones
None listed.
Native Geographical Range
None listed.
Native Environment
None listed.
Ecosystem Niche
None listed.
Root Zone Tendancy
None listed.
Deciduous or Evergreen
Herbaceous or Woody
Life Cycle
Growth Rate
Mature Size
3 x 5 meters
Flower Colour
Flower Type


  1. ? 1.01.1 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
  2. ? 2.02.1 Sholto-Douglas. J. Alternative Foods. ()
  3. ? Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
  4. ? 4.04.1 Harrington. H. D. Edible Native Plants of the Rocky Mountains. University of New Mexico Press ISBN 0-8623-0343-9 (1967-00-00)
  5. ? 5.05.1 Saunders. C. F. Edible and Useful Wild Plants of the United States and Canada. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-23310-3 (1976-00-00)
  6. ? Turner. N. J. and Szczawinski. A. Edible Wild Fruits and Nuts of Canada. National Museum of Natural Sciences (1978-00-00)
  7. ? 7.07.1 Kavasch. B. Native Harvests. Vintage Books ISBN 0-394-72811-4 (1979-00-00)
  8. ? Vines. R. A. Trees of Central Texas. University of Texas Press ISBN 0-292-78958-3 (1987-00-00)
  9. ? 9.09.1 McPherson. A. and S. Wild Food Plants of Indiana. Indiana University Press ISBN 0-253-28925-4 (1977-00-00)
  10. ? Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
  11. ? 11.011.1 Yanovsky. E. Food Plants of the N. American Indians. Publication no. 237. U.S. Depf of Agriculture. ()
  12. ? Matthews. V. The New Plantsman. Volume 1, 1994. Royal Horticultural Society ISBN 1352-4186 (1994-00-00)
  13. ? 13.013.1 Hill. A. F. Economic Botany. The Maple Press (1952-00-00)
  14. ? 14.014.1 Buchanan. R. A Weavers Garden. ()
  15. ? Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
  16. ? 16.016.1 Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
  17. ? 17.0017.0117.0217.0317.0417.0517.0617.0717.0817.0917.1017.1117.12 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
  18. ? 18.0018.0118.0218.0318.0418.0518.0618.0718.0818.0918.1018.1118.1218.1318.1418.1518.16 Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-453-9 (1998-00-00)
  19. ? Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America. Houghton Mifflin Co. ISBN 0395467225 (1990-00-00)
  20. ? Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
  21. ? Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Dorling Kindersley. London ISBN 9-780751-303148 (1996-00-00)
  22. ? Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers. MacMillan and Co (1948-00-00)
  23. ? Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (1981-00-00)
  24. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)

Facts about "Rhus x pulvinata"RDF feed
Article is incompleteYes +
Article requires citationsNo +
Article requires cleanupYes +
Belongs to familyAnacardiaceae +
Belongs to genusRhus +
Functions asWindbreak +
Has binomial nameRhus x pulvinata +
Has drought toleranceIntolerant +
Has edible partUnknown part +, Fruit +, Root + and Stem +
Has edible useDrink + and Unknown use +
Has environmental toleranceHigh wind +
Has fertility typeSelf sterile + and Bees +
Has flowers of typeDioecious +
Has hardiness zone2 +
Has lifecycle typePerennial +
Has material partUnknown part +
Has material useDye +, Mordant +, Oil +, Soil Stabilization +, Tannin + and Wood +
Has mature height3 +
Has mature width5 +
Has medicinal partUnknown part +
Has medicinal useAntiseptic +, Astringent +, Diuretic +, Emmenagogue +, Febrifuge +, Refrigerant + and Tonic +
Has search namerhus x pulvinata +
Has shade toleranceNo shade +
Has soil ph preferenceAcid +, Neutral +, Alkaline + and Very alkaline +
Has soil texture preferenceSandy +, Loamy + and Clay +
Has soil water retention preferenceWell drained +
Has sun preferenceFull sun +
Has taxonomic rankSpecies +
Has taxonomy nameRhus x pulvinata +
Has water requirementsmoderate +
Is deciduous or evergreenDeciduous +
Is herbaceous or woodyWoody +
Is taxonomy typeSpecies +
PFAF cultivation notes migratedNo +
PFAF edible use notes migratedNo +
PFAF material use notes migratedNo +
PFAF medicinal use notes migratedNo +
PFAF propagation notes migratedNo +
PFAF toxicity notes migratedNo +
Tolerates nutritionally poor soilNo +
Tolerates windYes +
Uses mature size measurement unitMeters +
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