Close this search box.

Sugar bush

Rhus ovata


Sugar bush is a large evergreen shrub with a dense foliage habit that commonly grows 10-15 ft. high and as wide. However, some long lived plants have developed into small trees with twisting trunks up to 35 ft. tall. Thick leaves are 1-3 in. long, deep glossy green and have a pointed apex. Attractive clusters of cream to pink colored flowers are showy in early spring and are followed by clusters of large flattened berries.

Sugar bush is native to the chaparral and sage scrub plant communities of California and is appreciated for its handsome foliage character and tolerance of summer drought. It is most often planted in native gardens and on slopes with adequate space to accommodate its potential size. It can also be clipped and maintained as a screen or background plant, as as it ages it can be pruned to reveal interesting trunk and bark character.

Plant Type: Native, Shrub
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Mounding, Low-branching, Dense
Growth Rate: Moderate
Foliage Color: Medium green
Flower Color: Pink
Flower Season: Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Clay
Exposure Adaptations: Heat, Frost, Drought, Aridity, All day sun
Function: Attracts butterflies, Hedge, Wildlife value, Specimen, Slopes, Screening, Parks and open space, Foliage accent plant, California native, Background plant
Height: 8 ft. – 35 ft.
Width: 20 ft. – 25 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.