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Friday, January 10, 2014

Rhus lancea - African Sumac

The African Sumac is a small evergreen tree, 15-25' feet tall, with a dense broad spreading to rounded to dome-shaped with slightly weeping branch ends. It falls into the category of trees you really don't notice unless its flowering and the flower parts are falling on your car. 



Evergreen leaves alternately arranged, 3-5" long, trifoliate, with a long petiole, leaflets lanceolate, middle one larger than the laterals, dark green above, lighter below. Hanging off the thin somewhat weeping branches.





Flowers December around here. Dioecious (male and female plants). Large clusters of very small yellowish green, attracts lots of bees.



Fruit is a orangish or yellow drupe, on female trees only. 


The stems are thin, somewhat grooved, olive green when young, turning orangish brown when older bark develops. 



Bark is attractive I guess, other reference say so, but its okay, showing a brown alligator like skin with orange colors coming through in the cracks. Middle age stems are orangish brown with dark lenticels.






Misidentification: Looks somewhat like Geijera parvifolia (Australian Willow) but has trifoliate leaves. 

Location:
Capitola
41st Ave at Pizza My Heart

Live Oak
Capitola Rd and El Dorado

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