Over Thanksgiving weekend, I was able to go home to the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island where the fall colour of the Rhus typhina was at its peak in the slightly cooler climate. The amber colour was spectacular against its elegant branching.
A native of eastern USA and southern Canada, staghorn sumac favours dry sites and poor soil — it will often grow where other plants would be unable to survive. Sometimes seen as a “weedy” species because of its spreading rhizomes, Rhus typhina can remain quite manageable if left undisturbed. Unlike other members of Anacardiaceae, no parts of Rhus typhina are poisonous. It was used to make a kind of “sumac-ade” by First Nations, and also apparently makes a nice wine.