Close this search box.

African sumac

Rhus lancea


The African sumac is a medium size evergreen tree growing with a low branching habit, 20-30 ft. tall, and a round canopy of equal or greater width. Its fine textured foliage varies from pale green to deep olive-green and has a resinous smell when crushed. Leaves are palmately divided into 3 narrow leaflets, each 3-5 in. long. Inconspicuous flowers are yellow-green and occur in late winter, followed by tiny fruit that are eaten by birds. The scientific name of this tree is undergoing a change from Rhus to Searsia, however, most nurseries have not followed this change.

African sumac was first introduced into the United States in Tucson, Arizona, where it demonstrated excellent adaptability to heat, aridity, poor soils and drought. Like most plants, it will grow faster and to larger sizes when planted in well-drained soils with deep summer irrigation. It has been planted for many years throughout the Inland Empire as a street and garden shade tree in warm and sunny locations.

Plant Type: Tree
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Low-branching
Growth Rate: Moderate
Foliage Color: Dull green, Medium green
Flower Color: Insignificant
Flower Season: Winter
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Calcareous soil
Exposure Adaptations: Heat, Drought, Aridity, All day sun
Function: Shade Tree, Parks and open space, Civic spaces, Wildlife value
Height: 20 ft. – 30 ft.
Width: 20 ft. – 30 ft.

Set your preferred view

Choose between a list or map view of all signs found in our waterwise garden and park.

Welcome to the Waterwise Garden Digital Tour

This is a digital registry created to offer further information on the physical signs in our waterwise garden and park premises.

Would you like a few tips on how to use this tool?

Move around

Travel to different sections of our garden and park premises by using the horizontal scrollbar at the top.

Locate your sign​

Using the map view, you can preview what each specific sign is about by tapping on the plus icon.

Refer back to these tips

You can view these tips at any time by tapping the Help link in the top left.