Monday, November 24, 2008

flameleaf sumac

Mondays I will reserve for praising our tough and lovely native plants and animals. It takes a special soul to survive weeks on end of over 100 degree heat, severe extended drought, and 50 degree temperature swings in a day. And, as for the plants, our rocky, caliche soil is "challenging," to say the least.

I have been adoring the gorgeous blood-red of our flameleaf sumacs for the last couple weeks. Their form is like that of a bonsai (at least out here on our land!), and their leaves are drippy pointed blades. Beautiful, unique, and hardy!

Here's what Jan Wrede has to say about this little tree in her invaluable
Trees, Shrubs, and Vines of the Texas Hill Country:

"The leaflets of flameleaf sumac contain tannin and have been used to replace oak bark in tanning leather. The seeds can be crushed to make a refreshing lemon-flavored drink. Dependable scarlet fall color makes flameleaf sumac a good ornamental, especially along fences, because it spreads by root suckers that form loose thickets. Its fruit is an especially important food source for quail, grouse, and other birds."

Trees, Shrubs, And Vines Of The Texas Hill Country: A Field Guide (W L Moody, Jr, Natural History Series)

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