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Lemonade Berry shrub

Rhus integrifolia


I found this lemonade berry bush (sumac) in full berry mode last month. It was very sticky and attracting ants. Near Caspers Recreational Park, Orange County, CA


From Wikipedia: The Lemonade Berry plant is found on dry slopes in coastal areas of southern California and especially northern Baja California; however, one colony has even been observed as far north as Santa Cruz County. In addition to occurring on dry slopes and in canyon settings, the species sometimes is found on bluffs. The Lemonade Berry occurs in both chaparral and coastal sage scrub communities.


From wikipedia:Many plants within this genus are considered toxic, although some reports indicate the berries of this species can be used to make lemonade flavored drinks (hence its common name). Allergic reactions may also result from skin contact with sap from some of the genera. Lemonade Berry leaves are rich in tannins. Even though the species is evergreen, there is some leaf fall in autumn, at which time the fallen leaves may be used as a brown dye or mordant. An oil can be extracted from Lemonade Berry seeds; moreover, this oil achieves a tallow consistency when left to stand. Thereafter the oil can be employed to manufacture candles, which burn brightly, albeit emitting a pungent scent. The wood of mature plants is dense and hard, making it prized for wood-burning fireplace kindling.

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Dan Doucette
Dan Doucette 12 years ago

I guess you need some caution with this plant. Candles sound interesting but I wonder if the smell is tolerable?

KarenP 12 years ago

I added some notes. Looks kind of funky for tea, but maybe better as oil and candles! This shrub really stands out in the hot dry summer as the only color around this time of year.

Dan Doucette
Dan Doucette 12 years ago

Nice! Why the common name? I've had tea and sucked on the berries from Rhus typhina but not famiiar with this species.

Spotted by

Orange, California, USA

Spotted on Aug 14, 2011
Submitted on Sep 3, 2011

Spotted for Mission

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