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Taxon  Report  
Rhus ovata  S. Watson
Sugar bush,   Sugar sumac
Rhus ovata is a shrub that is native to California, and found only slightly beyond California borders.
Siskiyou Del Norte Modoc Humboldt Shasta Lassen Trinity Plumas Tehama Butte Mendocino Glenn Sierra Yuba Lake Nevada Colusa Placer Sutter El Dorado Yolo Alpine Napa Sonoma Sacramento Mono Amador Solano Calaveras Tuolumne San Joaquin Marin Contra Costa Alameda Santa Cruz Mariposa Madera San Francisco San Mateo Merced Fresno Stanislaus Santa Clara Inyo San Benito Tulare Kings Monterey San Bernardino San Luis Obispo Kern Santa Barbara Ventura Los Angeles Riverside Orange San Diego Imperial

Bloom Period
Genus: Rhus
Family: Anacardiaceae  
Category: angiosperm  
PLANTS group:Dicot
Jepson eFlora section: eudicot

Communities: Chaparral
Name Status:
Accepted by JEF + PLANTS

Alternate Names:
PLANTSRhus ovata var. traskiae
Information about  Rhus ovata from other sources
Nursery availability from CNPLX
This plant is available commercially.
Jepson eFlora


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[calscape.org] Description, Range: Rhus ovata, also known as Sugar Bush or Sugar Sumac, is an evergreen shrub to small tree that grows in chaparral in dry canyons and slopes below 1300 meter in Southern California, Arizona and Baja California. In the southern part of it's range (in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego Counties) Rhus ovata generally grows in the foothills and mountains, and the closely related Rhus integrifolia (Lemonade Berry) grows closer to the coast. Its size ranges from 2 - 10 meter tall and it has a rounded appearance, often growing wider than tall. The twigs of Rhus ovata are thick and reddish in color. Its foliage consists of dark green, leathery, ovate leaves that are folded along the midrib. The leaf arrangement is alternate. Its flower clusters which occur at the ends of branches consist of small, 5-petaled, flowers that appear to be pink, but upon closer examination actually have white to pink petals with red sepals. Additionally, the flowers may be either bisexual or pistillate. The fruit is a small reddish, sticky drupe, about 6 - 8 millimeter in diameter that is said to be edible. (link added by Mary Ann Machi)

Suggested Citation
Calflora: Information on California plants for education, research and conservation, with data contributed by public and private institutions and individuals. [web application]. 2024. Berkeley, California: The Calflora Database [a non-profit organization]. Available: https://www.calflora.org/   (Accessed: 07/19/2024).