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.