Sumac Facts

Sumac Facts
Sumac is deciduous tree that belongs to the cashew family. There are 35 species of sumac that can be found in subtropical and temperate regions around the world. Sumac inhabits open, rocky habitats, river banks, areas near the roads and hillsides. It grows on the clay or loamy soil, in areas that provide plenty of sun (sumac requires full sun for the successful development). Sumac can be used in human diet, but it is more frequently cultivated in ornamental purposes.
Interesting Sumac Facts:
Sumac grows as tall shrub or small tree. It can reach from 3.3 to 32.6 feet in height.
Sumac has antler-like branches that can be smooth or hairy. Bark is covered with fine hairs that create velvety texture. Herbivores does not like to eat sumac because of the hairs on the branches and bark.
Sumac has pinnate leaves that usually consist of 11 to 13 oval leaflets with serrated edges. Leaves are spirally arranged on the branches.
Sumac is dioecious plant which means that male and female flowers develop on separate plants. Flowers can be white, greenish or red colored and they are arranged in the spikes (panicles) on top of the branches.
Sumac blooms early in the summer and attracts bees, that are responsible for the pollination of the flowers.
Fruit of sumac is red drupe. Each drupe contains one seed and it is covered with hairs on the surface. Fruit, also known as sumac bobs are arranged in pyramidal clusters. Fruit ripens at the beginning of the autumn and stays on the tree during the winter.
More than 30 species of birds feed on the sumac fruit and facilitate dispersal of seed. Besides via seed, sumac propagates via root sprouting.
Dried, ground fruit of sumac is used as spice that is especially popular in the Middle-Eastern cuisine. Its lemony flavor improves the taste of various salads and dishes made of meat.
Native Americans used sumac fruit to prepare refreshing beverage also known as Indian lemonade or sumac-ade.
Native Americans smoked cigarettes made of dried leaves and fruit of sumac.
Leaves of sumac are used as a source of black ink. Pigment obtained from the wood of sumac can be used for coloring of various items in the industry of textile, toys and paper.
Bark and leaves of sumac are rich source of tannins that are used for the tanning of leather.
Stems of sumac have soft central parts that can be easily removed. This feature makes sumac ideal for the manufacture of tobacco pipes.
Goats strip the bark of sumac and prevent growth of new shoots. They are used to eradicate sumac from occupied areas.
Sumac is perennial plant that can survive from 30 to 50 years in the wild.

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