Foraging Wild Fruit: Staghorn Sumac

Photo of Staghorn Sumac

From a distance, today's plant has a definite resemblance to that of Smooth Sumac, who I profiled back in August, when I lived in Massachusetts.  Here in Maine, I more frequently encounter the fuzzy stemmed Staghorn Sumac (Rhus hirta).  As I've described previously, the red fruit clusters of either species can be used to make a pleasant drink.

What I didn't share before is that both shrubs (or small trees) have known medicinal uses (including using branchlets as mouth-cleaning chew sticks), and both have wood that can be used to make friction fire sets.  For more on these uses and others, check out Ancestral Plants by Arthur Haines (2010).

Photo of Staghorn Sumac branch

Leave a Comment