Sugar bush, Chaparral Sumac
Scientific Name: Rhus ovata S. Watson
Synonym: Schmaltzia ovata
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Recommended Temperature Zone:|
Sun Exposure: Full sun
Origin: Arizona, California, northwestern Mexico, 4000 to 6000 feet elevation (1200-1800 m), in canyons
Growth Habits: Evergreen bush, slowly growing to 12 feet tall (3.6 m), 12 feet wide (3.6 m); large fragrant ovate leathery leaves, 2.8 to 4 inches long (7-10 cm), with paler undersides
Watering Needs: Little to moderate water, well drained soil
Propagation: Seeds, heeled semihardwood cuttings in summer, root cuttings in December, suckers
Plant in the fall or in winter.
The Sugar bush has large clusters of pinkish buds becoming creamy flowers in late spring to summer.
The hairy reddish berries, 0.12 inch in diameter (3 mm), can be eaten raw or cooked, it has a thin layer of flesh. It can also be soaked for 30 to 60 minutes in water to make a refreshing lemonade like drink.
Seeds must be soaked for a day before planting. This treatment is more effective the water is warm (90°F - 32°C) when you start the soaking.