Shining Sumac - Rhus copallina
The Shining Sumac, scientific name Rhus copallina, is labeled as such for its characteristic shiny dark-green leaves that manifest in the summer and turn a deep red to purplish-red in the autumn with the leaves retaining their glossiness until they seasonally fall. Besides having distinctive deciduous foliage, it also has some attractive ornamental features, including flowers that bloom in the spring that develop into fruiting clusters in the summer. In addition to being known by other familiar names such as Flameleaf Sumac and Winged Sumac, it is native to the Chicago region and can grow in hardiness zones from 5-10, in either partial shade, or full sun. Best built in areas and situations where it has room to spread, the Shining Sumac can easily be adapted as a large shrub or a small tree, by pruning or cutting bushes a few inches above ground level every few years in midwinter to rejuvenate the shrub colonies. If it is grown as a small tree with short, crooked trunks and open branching, it can achieve a height of 15-25 feet as a small tree or 10-15 feet as a small tree. As a large shrub, it can make a height of more than eight feet at its maturity, with a 10-20-foot spread. The Shining Sumac has a high tolerance to drought conditions and can grow well in moderately alkaline or slightly acidic, well-drained soil, as well as in clay, loam, and sand. The growth rate is rapid, spreading by root suckers, or underground runners, to form large shrub colonies. As a shrub or tree, it is not prone to serious diseases or insect infestations, but it can be susceptible to wind and ice damage. As a shrub colony, it attracts many kinds of birds such as quail, pheasants, turkey, and approximately 300 varieties of songbirds that make the fruit of the Shining Sumac apart from their diet. It also attracts honey bees and wildlife consisting of small mammals and large mammals such as deer.