Rhus copallinum – Winged Sumac

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The Winged Sumac (Rhus copallinum) is a native plant with edible fruits. The winged sumac is in the same family as cashews, poison ivy, mangoes, and pistachios.
Winged sumac has compound leaves which turn red in the fall. Fruit clusters can persist throughout the winter.
All berries of red sumacs are edible. The berries produce an acid that tastes similar to lemon. Berries can be swished in room temperature water to create a lemonade substitute.
Edible sumacs must be differentiated from Poison Sumac (Toxicodendron vernix) which has white berries that hang down and grows in swamps.

Written by Amy Demers, founder of the Connecticut Foraging Club. To learn more about foraging in Connecticut, check out our upcoming classes.

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