Jennifer chose a wonderful week to feature “scarlet” for her photo challenge!
Scarlet surrounds us, at the moment.
And the most intense, beautiful scarlet by far may be found on our wild Sumac shrubs.
We have both Staghorn Sumac, Rhus typhina; and Flameleaf Sumac , Rhus copallinum.
These beautiful shrubs are native to the eastern United States.
Providing nectar, shelter, and berries for wildlife, these large shrubs self-seed and spread from their roots as they grow.
Long lived and hardy, Sumac loves full to part sun and can tolerate a variety of soil types.
It is very drought tolerant and will grow in areas where more demanding plants would perish.
Sumac can be grown in a large pot or in the ground; and may be used in difficult situations, like median strips and parking lots.
They grow into an excellent, thick screen.
These grow along the Colonial Parkway between Williamsburg and Jamestown, on the bank of the James River.
The berries may be eaten, usually ground up or infused in water to make a beverage.
The only poisonous Sumac has white berries, so it is unlikely they would be confused with the edible ones.
And because we have several different varieties of Sumac growing in our area, we have enjoyed their gorgeous scarlet leaves for weeks now.
Sumac, the ” opening act” of our fall color, leads us quite happily into the beauty of autumn.
Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014
With appreciation to Jennifer Nichole Wells