sumac


sumac
/sooh"mak, shooh"-/, n.
1. any of several shrubs or small trees belonging to the genus Rhus of the cashew family, having milky sap, compound leaves, and small, fleshy fruit.
2. a preparation of the dried and powdered leaves, bark, etc., of certain species of Rhus, esp. R. coriaria of southern Europe, used esp. in tanning.
3. the wood of these trees.
Also, sumach.
[1250-1300; ME < ML < Ar summaq]

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Any of certain species of shrubs and small trees in the genus Rhus of the family Anacardiaceae (the sumac, or cashew, family), native to temperate and subtropical zones.

All sumacs have a milky or resinous sap, which in some species (e.g., poison sumac) can irritate the skin. Used in the past as a source of dyes, medicines, and beverages, sumacs are now valued as ornamentals, soil binders, and cover plants. The sumacs grown for landscape use display a graceful form, spectacular fall colour, or colourful fruit clusters. The smooth, or scarlet, sumac (R. glabra), native to the eastern and central U.S., is the most common.

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plant
 any of certain species of shrubs and small trees belonging to the cashew family (Anacardiaceae), native to temperate and subtropical zones. All sumacs have a milky or resinous sap, which in a few species can cause a contact dermatitis. Used in the past as a source of dyes, medicines, and beverages, sumacs are now valued as ornamentals, soil binders, and cover plants. The sumacs grown for landscape use display a graceful habit, spectacular fall colour, or colourful fruit clusters.

      The smooth, or scarlet, sumac (R. glabra), native to the eastern and central United States, is the most common. It grows to a height of 6 metres (20 feet), with an open, flattened crown and a few stout spreading branches. A cultivated variety has much dissected, fernlike leaves. Somewhat taller is the staghorn, or velvet, sumac (R. typhina), up to 9 metres (29.5 feet), named for the dense or velvety covering on new twigs. Its fall foliage is orange-red to purple. It also has a variety with finely cut leaves.

      Poison sumac, or poison elder (R. vernix, or in some classifications, Toxicodendron vernix), is an attractive narrow shrub or small tree native to swampy acidic soil of eastern North America. It has whitish waxy berries on loose hanging stalks, unlike the upright reddish, fuzzy fruit clusters of other sumacs. The clear sap, which blackens on exposure to air, is extremely toxic to many people.

      The smaller sumacs are the shining, winged, or dwarf sumac (R. copallina) and the lemon, or fragrant, sumac (R. aromatica). The former is often grown for its shiny leaves, the leaflets of which are connected by ribs along the axis, and showy reddish fruits. The fragrant sumac has three-parted leaves, scented when bruised; it forms a dense low shrub useful in landscaping.

      The Sicilian sumac (R. coriaria), from the Mediterranean region, is cultivated as a source of tannin in southern Italy.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • sumac — sumac …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • sumac — [ symak ] n. m. • XIIIe; ar. summaq ♦ Plante dicotylédone (térébinthacées), arbuste aux nombreuses variétés. Sumac de Virginie. ⇒ amarante. Sumac des teinturiers. ⇒ fustet. Sumac de Sicile, dont on utilise les feuilles en tannerie. Sumac à bois… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • sumac — SUMÁC s.m. Numele mai multor arbori sau arbuşti mediteraneeni cu frunze compuse, bogate în substanţe tanante, dintre care unele specii sunt cultivate şi folosite în industria pielăriei, în medicină etc. (Rhus). – Din fr. sumac. Trimis de claudia …   Dicționar Român

  • Sumac — Su mac, Sumach Su mach, n. [F. sumac, formerly sumach (cf. Sp. zumaque), fr. Ar. summ[=a]q.] [Written also {shumac}.] 1. (Bot.) Any plant of the genus {Rhus}, shrubs or small trees with usually compound leaves and clusters of small flowers. Some… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • sumac — or sumach [so͞o′mak΄, sho͞o′mak΄] n. [ME sumac < MFr < Ar summāq] 1. any of various shrubs and small trees (genus Rhus) of the cashew family, including poison sumac and several nonpoisonous plants 2. the pulverized dried leaves of some of… …   English World dictionary

  • SUMAC — (mishnaic Heb. אוֹג), the Arabic name for the Rhus coriaria. This shrub or low tree, belonging to the family Anacardiadeae, which includes the terebinth and the pistachio , grows wild in the groves of Israel. The tree is dioecious, with pinnate… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • sumac — c.1300, preparation of dried, chopped leaves of a plant of the genus Rhus (used in tanning and dyeing and as an astringent), from O.Fr. sumac (13c.), from M.L. sumach, from Arabic summaq, from Syrian summaq red. Later applied to N.Amer. species …   Etymology dictionary

  • Sumac — taxobox name = Sumac image caption = Sumac fruit in fall regnum = Plantae unranked divisio = Angiosperms unranked classis = Eudicots unranked ordo = Rosids ordo = Sapindales familia = Anacardiaceae genus = Rhus genus authority = L. subdivision… …   Wikipedia

  • Sumac — Yma Sumac, 1953 Yma Sumac (* 10. September 1922 in Ichocán, Peru; † 1. November 2008 in Silver Lake, Los Angeles, Kalifornien; Ima sumaq (Quechua: „Wie schön“); auch Imma Sumack oder Ima Sumack; eigentlicher Name Zoila Augusta Emperatriz Chavarri …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • sumac — (su mak) s. m. 1°   Genre de la famille des térébinthacées ; on y distingue : le sumac des corroyeurs, rhus coriaria, L. arbrisseau de l Europe méridionale ; le sumac vénéneux, rhus toxicodendrum, L. arbrisseau de l Amérique ; et le sumac au… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré


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