AZ Arboretums

Rhus lancea

African sumacCommon: African sumac
Family: Anacardiaceae
Sunset Zones: 8, 9, 12-24
Origin: Native to arid lands of South Africa, well adapted to southwestern United States
Light: Full sun
Soil: All soil types
Water: Little to no water, although in desert needs some summer watering.

Can train to a single trunk tree, or let grow as multi-trunked tree that looks like olive. Useful for screens, clipped hedges or background plantings. Graceful weeping outer branches.

Makes attractive, airy tree with interesting branch pattern and dark red, rough bark. Crowns are flat-topped and spreading, becoming more dome shaped as tree gains height.

Grows slowly to 15-25 ft high and 15-35 ft wide at moderate to rapid rate.

Leaves divided into three willow-like, dark green leaflets, 4-5 in. long. Unimportant greenish flowers in late winter produce pea-size, berry-like yellow or red fruit that grow in clusters on female tree. Old plants easy to transplant if grown under dry conditions. Fruit can be messy on pavement.

Susceptible to Texas root rot, may get butt rot or iron chlorosis from poorly drained soils. Stake and prune to establish form you want.