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Rhus aromatica 'Gro-Low' Plant of Merit

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Kemper Code:  F180

Common Name: fragrant sumac
Zone: 3 to 9
Plant Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Anacardiaceae
Missouri Native: No
Native Range: None
Height: 1.5 to 2 feet
Spread: 6 to 8 feet
Bloom Time: April - May   Bloom Data
Bloom Color: Yellowish
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low

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Plant Culture and Characteristics

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  Uses:       Wildlife:   Flowers:   Leaves:   Fruit:
Hedge Suitable as annual Attracts birds Has showy flowers Leaves colorful Has showy fruit
Shade tree Culinary herb Attracts Has fragrant flowers Leaves fragrant Fruit edible
Street tree Vegetable   hummingbirds Flowers not showy Good fall color   Other:
Flowering tree Water garden plant Attracts Good cut flower Evergreen Winter interest
Gr. cover (<1') Will naturalize   butterflies Good dried flower     Thorns or spines

General Culture:

Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Tolerant of wide range of soils except those that are poorly drained.

Noteworthy Characteristics:

This fragrant sumac cultivar is a dense, low-growing, rambling shrub which spreads by root suckers and typically grows only to 1-2' tall but spreads to 8' wide. Trifoliate, medium green leaves turn attractive shades of orange and red in autumn. Leaves and twigs are aromatic when bruised (hence the species name). Leaves are smaller but resemble in appearance those of the related poison ivy (Rhus radicans), however this fragrant sumac is a totally non-poisonous plant. Tiny yellow flowers bloom at the twig tips in early spring before the foliage. Separate male flowers (in catkins) and female flowers (in clusters) appear on the same plant (monoecious) or, more commonly, on different plants (dioecious). Male catkins form in late summer and persist throughout the winter until eventually blooming in spring. Female flowers give way in late summer to small clusters of hairy, red berries which may persist into winter. Fruit is attractive to wildlife.


No serious insect or disease problems. Some susceptibility to leaf spot, rust, scale, aphids and mites. Nipple galls on foliage are a somewhat common, but generally cosmetic problem.


Good for stabilizing embankments or as a ground cover. Good for hard-to-cover areas with poorer soils.

Missouri Botanical Garden, 2001-2011

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