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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 2016. Rhus aromatica, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 01, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 01, 2016.

Rhus aromatica var. simplicifolia
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© 2013 Keir Morse
Rhus aromatica
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© 2005 James M. Andre
Rhus aromatica
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© 2009 Barry Breckling
Rhus aromatica
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© 2013 Keir Morse
Rhus aromatica
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© 2015 Barry Breckling
Rhus aromatica
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© 2012 Neal Kramer

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. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
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.