Staghorn Sumac – Rhus typhina

Beneath a grove of Staghorn Sumac

under the stars……….

around the corner from the Moon,

She writes notes to tack upon the Oak trees

with packets of flower seeds

for the Holocaust…

By Allan Traphagan


The Staghorn Sumac is native to eastern North America, primarily the northeastern and Midwestern United States, Appalachian Mountains, and Southern Ontario, Canada. The most identifying characteristics are the fruit, which forms clusters of small red drupes (berries) at the ends of branches.

The fruit has been used for centuries by the Native Americans to make lemonade like drink that is high in Vitamin C. They have also been used in pies.

Several native North American Indian tribes who valued it especially for its astringent qualities often employed staghorn sumac medicinally. It is little used in modern Herbalism. The bark is antiseptic and astringent with an infusion being used for treatment of diarrhea, fevers, piles (hemorrhoids), debility, and uterine issues. Reportedly the Natives used the leaves, smoked to treat asthma

Staghorn Sumac lemonade recipe

1-quart sumac berries
1-gallon water, heated, but not boiling (the heated water brings out more tannin, making it more astringent)
Optional: maple syrup, cinnamon, cloves
Cheesecloth, or drip coffee filter

Harvest fresh sumac

Lay it outside for a bit, spread it out, and check for any bugs (no need to drink them! Lol)

Rinse seed heads, but do not rub, and drain on a towel
Fill a container with water
Put sumac seeds and spices in water
Set aside at room temperature or in the sun for 1-2 hours
Remove berries and strain liquid through cheesecloth or coffee filters

Many people have made this without the sweetening or the spices and it is quite refreshing all alone!

Staghorn Sumac Fruit
Staghorn Sumac Fruit

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