Rhus ovata S. Watson

Sugar Bush
Anacardiaceae (Sumac Family)

Sugar bush is an evergreen shrub to small tree, reaching some 10'-15' in height, and is a common member of the coastal sage scrub, chaparral and southern oak woodland plant communities. The leaves are petioled, somewhat thick and leathery, broadly ovate to elliptic, ± folded along the midrib, and with an acute to sharply-acuminate tip. They are also alternate, and the leaf margin is quite variable, many being serrate but many entire-margined instead.  Shrubs growing in very shady locations have larger and less-folded leaves.  The flowers have red sepals and pinkish to white petals, both with ciliate margins, and occur in fairly dense clusters at the ends of branches.  The fruit is an ovoid, reddish, glandular drupe about 1/4" in diameter with a smooth, flat stone.  Sugar bush inhabits dryish canyons and generally south-facing slopes below 4000' both inland and near the coast, blooming from March to May.  It ranges from Baja to Santa Barbara Co.

Click here for Latin name derivations: 1) Rhus 2) ovata.
Pronunciation: ROOS oh-VAY-ta.
Click here for Botanical Term Meanings.

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