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Rhus aromatica

Higher Taxonomy
Family: AnacardiaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Shrub, tree; generally dioecious or flowers bisexual and unisexual; resin clear, often weathering black, generally aromatic, latex milky or 0. Leaf: simple to ternate- or odd-pinnate-compound, alternate, deciduous or evergreen; stipules 0. Inflorescence: raceme or panicle; flowers generally many. Flower: generally unisexual, radial; sepals generally 5, base generally +- fused; petals 5, generally > sepals, free; (perianth parts 1--7 in Pistacia); stamens 4--7 or 10, vestigial in pistillate flowers; ovary superior, vestigial or 0 in staminate flowers, subtended by +- lobed, disk-like nectary, chamber generally 1, ovule generally 1, styles 1--3. Fruit: drupe-like, generally +- flat, sticky or not, hairs short or 0; pulp +- resinous, aromatic or not.
Genera In Family: 70+ genera, +- 850 species: tropics, warm temperate; some ornamental (Rhus, Schinus), cultivated for fruit (Anacardium, cashew; Mangifera, mango; Pistacia, pistachio). Toxicity: TOXIC: many genera produce contact dermatitis.
eFlora Treatment Author: John M. Miller & Dieter H. Wilken, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Bruce G. Baldwin, Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: RhusView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Shrub, tree; dioecious or flowers bisexual and pistillate. Leaf: simple or compound, deciduous or evergreen, entire, toothed, or lobed. Inflorescence: panicle, terminal on short twigs, open to dense; flowers +- sessile. Flower: stamens 5; styles 3, free or +- fused. Fruit: spheric or +- flat, glabrous or glandular-hairy, generally +- red; pulp thin or thick, +- resinous.
Species In Genus: +- 150 species: warm temperate. Etymology: (Greek: ancient name for sumac)
Unabridged Note: 2 species with pinnately compound leaves native to eastern North America, Utah, cultivated in California: Rhus glabra L., smooth sumac (petioles, young stems glabrous), Rhus typhina L., staghorn sumac (petioles, young stems densely hairy).

Rhus aromatica Aiton
Habit: Plant 0.5--2.5 m. Leaf: deciduous, thin, flat; petiole 5--15 mm; lobes or leaflets generally 3, crenate to +- lobed, abaxially tomentose to +- glabrous; terminal lobe or leaflet 10--35 mm, +- diamond-shaped, lateral 5--18 mm, generally ovate. Inflorescence: appearing before leaves; branches short, stiff. Flower: sepals yellow-green to +- red; petals generally yellow. Fruit: 5--8 mm diam, sparsely hairy, sticky, generally bright red-orange.
Ecology: Slopes, washes, scrub; Elevation: < 2200 m. Bioregional Distribution: CA-FP, DMoj (exc c), n DSon; Distribution Outside California: to southern Canada, central United States, northern Mexico. Flowering Time: Mar--May
Synonyms: Rhus aromatica Aiton var. simplicifolia (Greene) Cronquist; Rhus aromatica var. trilobata (Nutt.) A. Gray ex S. Watson; Rhus aromatica subsp. trilobata (Nutt.) W.A. Weber; Rhus trilobata Nutt.; Rhus trilobata var. anisophylla (Greene) Jeps.; Rhus trilobata var. malacophylla (Greene) Munz; Rhus trilobata var. quinata Jeps.; Rhus trilobata var. simplicifolia (Greene) F.A. Barkley; Rhus trilobata var. trilobata; Schmaltzia trilobata (Nutt.) Small; Toxicodendron trilobatum (Nutt.) Kuntze; Toxicodendron triphyllum var. trilobatum (Nutt.) Kuntze, nom. inval.
eFlora Treatment Author: John M. Miller & Dieter H. Wilken
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botanical illustration including Rhus aromatica


Citation for this treatment: John M. Miller & Dieter H. Wilken 2017. Rhus aromatica, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on October 22, 2017.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2017. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on October 22, 2017.

Rhus aromatica
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© 2012 Vernon Smith
Rhus aromatica
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© 2009 Thomas Stoughton
Rhus aromatica
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© 2013 Keir Morse
Rhus aromatica
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© 2005 James M. Andre
Rhus aromatica
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© 2013 Keir Morse
Rhus aromatica var. simplicifolia
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© 2013 Keir Morse

More photos of Rhus aromatica in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Rhus aromatica:
CA-FP, DMoj (exc c), n DSon;
Markers link to CCH specimen records. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues. Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.