Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Rhus kearneyi, Kearney's Sumac

Kearney's Sumac has shiny green leaves with a leathery feel and conspicuous parallel venation. Flowers are white and pinkish and form in dense panicles on a terminal branch tip. Rhus kearneyi Kearney's Sumac is an attractive shrub or small tree that is found only in southern Yuma County, Arizona. Kearney Sumac blooms early from January to February. Rhus kearneyi Kearney's Sumac has attractive foliage with conspicuous parallel venation; also note prominent center mid-rib. Rhus kearneyi Kearney's Sumac is a densely branched shrub or small tree that grows up to 12 feet tall more or less. It has a scaly bark and the older bark is dark, branches are tan to gray and densely puberulent and later, glabrous. Rhus kearneyi

Scientific Name: Rhus kearneyi
Common Name: Kearney's Sumac

Also Called: Kearney Sumac

Family: Anacardiaceae, Sumac Family

Synonyms: ()

Status: Native

Duration: Perennial

Size: 12 feet more or less.

Growth Form: Shrub, tree; plants densely branched; bark scaly, older bark dark; branches tan to gray; densely puberulent and later glabrous.

Leaves: Green, olive green, shiny; conspicuous parallel venation (whitish) and prominent center mid-rib; alternate; evergreen; simple, margins entire to serrulate; broadly ovate, oval or broadly elliptic, leathery; underside of leaves with glandular hair; leaves up to 2 inches (5 cm) long.

Flower Color: White and pink; flowers in dense panicles, 2 or (5 cm) more inches long; bracts lanceolate to ovate, puberulent; flowers small, sepals pinkish, puberulent; petals cream colored, glabrous; fruit is a red drupe.

Flowering Season: January to February

Elevation: 1,000 to 1,500 feet (25-38 m).

Habitat Preferences: Rhus kearneyi is extremely rare in North America where it is known only from southwest Arizona.

Recorded Range: Rhus kearneyi is rare in North America and it is only found in southern Yuma, County, Arizona. It is native to Baja California and northern Mexico.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Rhus kearneyi.

U.S. Weed Information: No information available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No information available.
Wetland Indicator: No information available.

Threatened/Endangered Information: In Arizona Rhus kearneyi is "Salvage Restricted".

Genus Information: In North America there are 18 for Rhus. Worldwide, The Plant List includes 131 accepted species names and a further 96 scientific names of infraspecific rank for genus Rhus. The genus Rhus was published by Carl Linnaeus in 1753.

In the Southwestern United States: Arizona and Texas each have 7 species of genus, California has 5 species, Nevada has 2 species, New Mexico has 5 species and Utah has 3 species. All data approximate and subject to revision.

Comments: Kearney's Sumac is rare in the United States where it is limited in distribution to the southwest corner of the state in southern Yuma County, Tinajas Altas.

In Southwest Desert Flora also see; Littleleaf Sumac, Rhus microphylla, Smooth Sumac, Rhus glabra, Sugar Sumac, Rhus ovata and Skunkbush Sumac, Rhus trilobata var. trilobata.

Importance to Wildlife, Birds and Livestock
No information available.

Special Value to Native Bees, Butterflies and Insects
Several varieties of butterflies and moths regularly visit member of the genus Rhus. It is likely Rhus kearneyi is included - Find out more from Butterflies and Moths of North America. and from the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

The genus Rhus is from the ancient Greek name for Sumac "rhous". The genus Rhus was published by Carl Linnaeus in 1753.
The species epithet "kearneyi" is named in honor of Thomas Henry Kearney.

No information available.
Date Profile Completed: 05/04/2017, updated 01/18/2020
Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles, California.
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database – ITIS search (accessed 01/18/2020).
The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 01/17/2020).
Anderson, John L., 2006. Vascular Plants of Arizona: Anacardiaceae. CANOTIA 3 (2): 13-22.
John Seiler, John Peterson, Virginia Tech; Dept of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Kearney’s Sumac; on-line accessed 05/04/2017
SEINet synonyms, scientific names, geographic locations, general information - (accessed 05/04/2017).