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Winged sumac is a large, deciduous shrub or small tree, 20-35 ft. tall, with short, crooked trunks and open branching. Glossy, dark-green, pinnately compound leaves turn reddish-purple in the fall. Yellowish-green flowers are succeeded by drooping, pubescent, pyramidal fruit clusters which turn dull red and persist through winter. It is easily distinguishable from other sumacs by the winged leaf axis and watery sap. Often forms thickets.
This one was growing around the constructed stork ponds at the Silver Bluff Audubon Center near Jackson (Aiken County), SC.
It is also called Shining sumac, Flameleaf sumac, Mountain sumac, and Dwarf sumac. Native sumacs are important wildlife plants, providing winter food for many upland gamebirds, songbirds, and large and small mammals. They are fast growing, generally pest and disease-free, and drought-tolerant. Colonies are often single-sexed, formed from a single, suckering parent. Only female plants produce berries, which are not as showy as those of R. typhina and R. glabra.