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Rhus typhina

Identity

Common name: Staghorn sumac
Synonyms: Rhus hirta
Origin: North America
Plant type: Shrub
Life cycle: Perennial
Code of conduct: Annex II
Invasive status (ISEIA protocol): Watch list
Main ornemental function: Ornamental shrub

Description

Shrub or small tree up to 4 -5 m tall. Deciduous leaves, alternate, compound with 10 to 30 leaflets, toothed margins, red to orange coloured in autumn. Hairy stems. Fruits grouped in pyramidal caputula, red coloured, hairy. Fruits persist during winter.

Spread

The species mainly reproduces vegetatively by root suckering and resprouting. High aptitude for root suckering, which may form a dense network of individuals up to 10 m around the parent plant. In Belgium, reproduction by seeds is rarely observed in the wild. However seeds can be dispersed by birds.

Habitat

This pioneer plant occurs along forest edges, in clearings, quarries, shrubs and fallowlands. It thrives on relatively dry and poor soils, in well-lit conditions. Preference for full sun. Resistant to drough. Frequently planted in gardens.

Impact

Species classified B1 in Belgium. Staghorn sumac is included in tha black list of invasive species in Switzerland, where it forms large and dense populations via root sprouts which reduce plant species diversity. They strongly reduce light intensity and outcompete ground-layer perennial species. Contact with sap causes dermatitis in humans. In Belgium, no large populations have been observed in the wild. Due to vegetative multiplication capacities, this species is difficult to manage. For more information, click here

Recommendation

(1) Avoid planting this species near forests, forests edges and shrublands on dry soils, especially in the vicinity of protected areas (natural reserves, Natura 2000 sites, etc.) ; (2) put a rhizome barrier in order to limit lateral expansion.

Possible native alternative

Main ornemental function

Ornamental shrub

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