RHUS COTINUS.--Smoke Plant, Wig Tree, or Venetian Sumach. Spain to
Caucasus, 1656. On account of its singular appearance this shrub always
attracts the attention of even the most unobservant in such matters. It
is a spreading shrub, about 6 feet high, with rotundate, glaucous
leaves, on long petioles. The flowers are small and inconspicuous, but
the feathery nature of the flower clusters, occasioned by the
n of the pedicels and hairs into fluffy awns, renders this
Sumach one of the most curious and attractive of hardy shrubs. Spreading
about freely, this south European shrub should be allowed plenty of room
so that it may become perfectly developed.
R. GLABRA (_syns R. caroliniana, R. coccinea, R. elegans_, and _R.
sanguinea_).--Smooth or Scarlet Sumach. North America, 1726. A smaller
tree than the last, with leaves that are deep glossy-green above and
whitish beneath. The male tree bears greenish-yellow flowers, and the
female those of a reddish-scarlet, but otherwise no difference between
the trees can be detected. R. glabra laciniata (Fern Sumach) is a
distinct and handsome variety, with finely cut elegant leaves, and a
dwarf and compact habit of growth. The leaves are very beautiful, and
resemble those of the Grevillea robusta. It is a worthy variety.
R. SUCCEDANEA.--Red Lac Sumach. Japan, 1768. This is not often seen
planted out, though in not a few places it succeeds perfectly well. It
has elegant foliage, each leaf being 15 inches long, and divided into
several pairs of leaflets.
R. TOXICODENDRON.--Poison Oak or Poison Ivy. North America, 1640. This
species is of half-scandent habit, with large, trifoliolate leaves,
which turn of various tints of red and crimson in the autumn. It is
quite hardy, and seen to best advantage when allowed to run over large
rockwork and tree stumps in partial shade. The variety R. toxicodendron
radicans has ample foliage, and is suited for similar places to the
last. The leaves turn bright yellow in the autumn.
R. TYPHINA.--Stag's Horn Sumach, or Vinegar Tree. A native of North
America (1629), and a very common shrub in our gardens, probably on
account of its spreading rapidly by suckers. It is, when well grown, a
handsome and distinct shrub or small tree, with large, pinnate, hairy
leaves, and shoots that are rendered very peculiar by reason of the
dense hairs with which they are covered for some distance back. The
dense clusters of greenish-yellow flowers are sure to attract attention,
although they are by no means pretty. R. typhina viridiflora is the
male-flowered form of this species, with green flowers.
R. VENENATA (_syn R. vernix_).--Poison Elder, Sumach, or Dogwood. North
America, 1713. This is remarkable for its handsome foliage, and is the
most poisonous species of the genus.
All the Sumachs grow and flower freely in any good garden soil, indeed,
in that respect they are not at all particular. They throw up shoots
freely, so that increasing the stock is by no means difficult.