An expected and an unexpected red
You’ve seen plenty of pictures of flameleaf sumac, Rhus lanceolata, in these pages, but today marks the first appearance of evergreen sumac, Rhus virens. This shrub’s gooey little drupes are supposed to be red, which they are here, but as an evergreen the plant’s shiny leaflets are supposed to stay green, which they haven’t here. Something—probably a few freezing nights in mid-January—affected this bush and some near it, most of whose leaves were turning the dark brownish red you see in the photograph. The plant may have been stressed, but I was taken with the unexpected color. The date was January 23, and the location was Loop 360 near Bluffstone Dr. in northwest Austin.
You can read more about (mostly) evergreen sumac at the Texas A & M University website. To see the places in the American Southwest where this species grows, you can check the state-clickable map at the USDA website.
© 2013 Steven Schwartzman