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© Etienne Branquart, Belgian Biodiversity Platform
© Etienne Branquart, Belgian Biodiversity Platform
© Etienne Branquart, Belgian Biodiversity Platform
© Etienne Branquart, Belgian Biodiversity Platform
Rhus typhina - Staghorn sumac

Synonym: Rhus hirta
French name:  Sumac
Dutch name: Fluweelboom
Family: Anacardiaceae
Group: Vascular plants
Origin: North America
Habitat: terrestrial
Introduction:  agri- and horticulture
ISEIA Score : 10
Naturalization in Belgium
First observation in the wild: 1898
Invasion stage: naturalization
Spatial distribution: isolated
Reproduction in the wild: yes
Dispersion potential: medium
Natural habitats: medium
More on invasiveness: This pioneer plant occurs mainly in ruderal habitats and waster areas, but also along forest edges, in clearings, and shrublands. It thrives on relatively dry and poor soils, in well-lit conditions. It is resistant to abiotic stresses, incl. pollution. Clonal spreading rate is rather high but reproduction by seeds is rarely reported from the field in Belgium (seeds exhibit dormancy, probably as a result of hard, impermeable seedcoats). Plant may be easily propagated via root fragments in soil movement.
Distribution in Belgium
Established populations
absent from district
isolated populations (1-5 localities per district)
widespread (>5 localities per district)
Endangered areas
low risk
medium risk
high risk

Endangered Natura 2000 habitats ():
forest habitats: 9120
Impacts on Species
Predation / Herbivory: low
Competition: high
Disease transmission: low
Genetic effects: low
Impacts on Ecosystems
Nutrient cycling: unknown
Physical alteration: high
Natural successions: likely
Food web alteration: low
More on impacts: Staghorn sumac forms large, dense clones via root sprouts. They strongly reduce light intensity and outcompete ground-layer perennial species. In its area of origin, it has the potential to inhibit vegetation succession and tree regeneration. Contact with sap causes dermatitis in humans.
Data Source & References
Authors: Branquart Etienne, Dupriez Pascal, Vanderhoeven Sonia, Van Landuyt Wouter, Van Rossum Fabienne, Verloove Filip
Published on:  04 December 2007
Last update:  13 April 2011
AEF (2006)
Cartes provisoires de la distribution de néophytes en Wallonie.
Unpublished document.
Keil, P. & Loos G.H. (2005)
Preliminary account of ergasiophygophytic and xenophytic trees, shrubs and subshrubs in the Central Ruhrgebiet (Germany).
Electronic Publications of the Biological Station of Western Ruhrgebiet 3: 1-12.
Krivanek, M. & Pysek, P. (2006)
Predicting invasions by woody species in a temperate zone: a test of three risk assessment schemes in Czech Republic.
Diversity and Distributions 12: 319-327.
Lambinon, J., Delvosalle, L. & Duvigneaud, J. (2004)
Nouvelle fore de la Belgique, du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, du Nord de la France et des régions voisines.
Editions du Patrimoine du Jardin botanique national de Belgique, Meise.
Meilleur, A. , Veronneau, H. & Bouchard, A. (1994)
Shrub communities as inhibitors of succession in Southern Quebec.
Environmental Management 18: 907-921.
Sullivan, J. (1994)
Rhus typhina.
In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer).
Sun, T., Lu, F., Zheng, Y. Zhang, C., Li, B., Wang, L. & Yang, X. (2010)
Allelopathic activity of exotic tree Rhus typhina.
Forest Research
Verloove, F. (2006)
Catalogue of the Neophytes in Belgium (1800-2005).
Scripta Botanica Belgica 39, 89 pp.
Wang, G., Jiang, G., Yu, S., Y Li & Liu, H. (2008)
Invasion possibility and potential effects of Rhus typhina on Beijing municipality.
Journal of Integrative Plant Biology 50(5): 522–530.
Weber, E. & Gut, D. (2004)
Assessing the risk of potentially invasive plant species in central Europe.
Journal for Nature Conservation12: 171-179.
Wittenberg, R. (2005)
An inventory of alien species and their threat to biodiversity and economy in Switzerland.
CABI Bioscience Switzerland Centre report to the Swiss Agency for Environment, Forests and Landscape. The environment in practice no. 0629: 155p.
Zhang, Z. Jiang, C., Zhang, J.,Zhang, H.& Shi, L. (2009)
Ecophysiological evaluation of the potential invasiveness of Rhus typhina in its non-native habitats.
Tree physiology 29(11): 1307-1316.
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