A shrub or tree from ten to thirty feet high. Leaves. - Divided into eleven to thirty-one somewhat lance-shaped, toothed leaflets. Flowers. - Greenish or yellowish-white, in upright terminal clusters, some perfect, others unisexual, appearing in June. Fruit. - Crimson, small, globular, hairy.
This is the common sumach which illuminates our hill-sides every autumn with masses of flame-like color. Many of us would like to decorate our homes with its brilliant sprays, but are deterred from handling them by the fear of being poisoned, not knowing that one glance at the crimson fruit-plumes should reassure us, as the poisonous sumachs are white-fruited. These tossing pyramidal fruit-clusters at first appear to explain the common title of staghorn sumach. It is not till the foliage has disappeared, and the forked branches are displayed in all their nakedness, that we feel that these must be the feature in which the common name originated.