The Staghorn Sumac has an irregular crown and is made up of a few stout, spreading branches. It often sprouts from roots and forms thickets. It grows in well drained to dry soils in open areas and old fields, at forest edges, and along roadways. The Staghorn Sumac is native to the northeastern United States and southern Canada. In Ohio it grows in scattered areas, and generally is absent from the west-central counties. Other than as an ornamental, the Staghorn Sumac has little value to people today. In times past Native American Indians made a lemonade-like drink from its crushed fruit. And tannery workers used the tannin-rich bark and foliage as a tanning agent. Sumac serves primarily as a winter emergency food for wildlife. Ring-necked pheasant, bobwhite quail, wild turkey, and about 300 species of songbirds include sumac fruit in their diet. It is also known to be important only in the winter diets of ruffed grouse and the sharp-tailed grouse. Fox squirrels and cottontail rabbits eat sumac bark. White-tail deer like the fruit and stems. Sumac also makes good ornamental plantings and hedges because of the brilliant red fall foliage.
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