Staghorn Sumac

Scientific Name

Rhus typhina





Habitat and Distribution

Dry, rocky or gravelly soils, in old fields, clearings, roadsides, forest edges, and open woods.

Parts Used for Food

Shoots. Fruit.

Harvest Time

Summer and early Autumn.

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Food Uses of Staghorn Sumac

The young shoots can be peeled and eaten raw.

The red-flame like fruit bobs can be used in drinks. Dried and crushed they make an acceptable substitute for the Middle Eastern spice known as Sumac.

The liquid extract from Staghorn Sumac lemonade can be made into jelly.

Nutritional Profile

The fruits contain significant amounts of vitamin C.

Staghorn Sumac Recipes

Other Uses

Native American tribes smoked a mixture of the leaves, fruits along with other herbs and tobacco.

Safety Note

The sap can cause a skin rash in some people. Do not confuse with the toxic Rhus verniciflua.


Anon (n.d.) Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook-Abenaki People – Sub- Memorial Ceremonies.

Elias, T. S. & Dykeman, P. A. (2009) Edible wild plants: a North American field guide to over 200 natural foods. New York: Sterling.

Peterson, L. & Peterson, R. T. (1978) A field guide to edible wild plants of Eastern and Central North America. The Peterson field guide series?; no. 23. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Thayer, S. (2006) The forager’s harvest: a guide to identifying, harvesting, and preparing edible wild plants. Ogema: Forager’s Harvest.

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