Georgia Gardener Newsletter Cool Plant: September 20, 2007

Tiger Eyes® Sumac
Rhus typhina 'Baitiger'

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Species Native Range: Eastern half of the U.S.
Hardiness: USDA Zones 4-8
Mature Size: 6 feet tall and wide
Exposure: Full to part sun
Soil: Well-drained
Ease of Culture: Easy

Sumacs deserve more attention in the gardening world and I was so pleased to see this plant being featured at the 2006 Southern Nursery Association show. This unusual variety of staghorn sumac features finely dissected leaves that emerge in the spring a bright chartreuse and change to a golden yellow by summer. The foliage is contrasted by the pinkish stems that have the slightest hint of purple. In the fall, the foliage changes from yellow to orange and scarlett before dropping for the winter. Unlike other staghorn sumacs, Tiger Eyes does not produce fruit and it stays a manageable six feet tall.

Grow Tiger Eyes Sumac in full to part sun. The foliage color will be better in the sun and reportedly does not burn even during summer heat and drought. Once established, this plant is very drought tolerant.

Combine Tiger Eyes Sumac with Knockout Rose, Loropetalum, 'Black and Blue' Salvia, Asters, Mums and Muhly Grass.

For the record: The red-fruited varieties of Sumac (Rhus spp.) are NOT poisonous. In fact, the berries are edible but a bit tart and make a wonderful punch (if you're not allergic to pistachio nuts). Poison Sumac (Toxicodendron vernix) has white berries and is found predominantly in or near swamps in the southern part of the state. It's uncommon in the Piedmont and rare in the mountains.


Although I have seen or purchased this plant at these locations, I cannot guarantee that they will have it in stock at the time of this publication.

Hastings Garden Center: Atlanta
Pike Family Nurseries: multiple locations
Nature Hills Nursery: mail order
Wayside Gardens: mail order

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