New Mexico Wildflowers: Sumac Family



Flowers are organized alphabetically by genus and species. Hover over a photo series to control the images.

Smooth Sumac (Rhus glabra)

The flowers on the female plants are green and short-lived. The fruit turns red and remains clustered on plants for months.


Three-Leaf Sumac, Skunkbush (Rhus trilobata)

Three-leaf sumac flowers are small and drab and very easy to overlook. It's easier to recognize this shrub from from the three-part leaf and fuzzy red berries. This native species can be found in xeriscaped yards in Albuquerque. In one picture the leaves have galls caused by poison ivy gall mites, as I discuss on this page.


Some guides argue for two similar-looking species, Rhus trilobata and R. aromatica. In that approach, crushed leaves of R. trilobata kind of stink (hence skunkbush), while crushed leaves of R. aromatica smell pleasant. Other sources combine both varieties under R. aromatica. And so on. Until someone comes up with a final answer, I'm sticking to the Latin name I learned a half-century ago.


Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans)