Rhus lancea

African Sumac
Plant Type




Overall Mature Size


Mature Height & Spread

20-30′ x 20-35′


Full to partial sun


Medium, Low Water

Flower Color

Yellow, Green

Bloom Time

Winter, Spring

Special Features

Coastal Conditions, Desert Conditions, Low Water Use, Screen

Container Sizes

#5, #15, 24″ box, 36″ box

Natural Growth Habit


Sunset Garden Zones

8, 9, 12-24

Minimum USDA Hardiness Zone


Moderate to slow-growing evergreen tree to 20-30’ tall x 20-35’ wide. This durable, low-branching species, usually offered in nurseries as a single or multi-trunked specimen, forms an open crown of narrow, lance-shaped dark-green foliage that has a slightly-weeping, graceful appearance. Despite its soft-looking appearance, this species is quite tough and can tolerate heat, poor soils and periods of drought, though a faster-growing, larger specimen is achieved with regular watering in a fast-draining soil. Inconspicuous yellowish-green flowers appear from late-winter to early spring, followed by pea-sized yellow to red fruit that are a good food source for various species of birds.  Adding further appeal to this species is its attractive gray bark with orange-colored undertones. Growing from coastal regions to intermediate or low desert climates, this adaptable species is well-suited as a shade tree for parks, medians, parking lot planters or lawns, as well as making a fine evergreen background, windbreak or screen.  Prefers a full to partial sun exposure.


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