Rhus integrifolia (Nutt.) W.H. Brewer & S. Watson

Lemonade berry
Anacardiaceae (Sumac Family)

Lemonade berry is a rounded, aromatic, evergreen shrub or small tree growing to 10' tall, sometimes taller, with a stout, shortish trunk and many spreading branches and flat to slightly inrolled, entire-margined to ± sharp-toothed, coriaceous leaves, which are also alternately spaced, oval-shaped and rounded at both ends. The flowers are in tightly grouped clusters and are small, white to rose-pink in color, and subtended by roundish hairy bracts. The sepals are green with glandular-ciliate margins, and there are five petals, 1/8" long, and five stamens.  The fruit is a sticky, flattish drupe that is covered with a fine reddish-brown down, inside of which is a hard stone about 1/4" long.  Lemonade berry blooms from February to May below 2600' in coastal sage scrub and chaparral on dry, mostly ocean-facing slopes from Santa Barbara Co. to Baja.  It is said that the berries can be added to water to make a somewhat bitter lemonade-like drink, but I haven't tried this.  Rhus integrifolia hybridizes with Rhus ovata.

Click here for Latin name derivations: 1) Rhus 2) integrifolia.
Pronunciation: ROOS in-teg-ri-FO-lee-a.
Click here for Botanical Term Meanings.

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