According to observations of naturalists and beekeepers.
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Smooth sumac is distributed widely throughout most of the contiguous U.S. and into Mexico. It does not occur in California. In Canada, it extends from Lake Huron to central British Columbia.
This plant is present in at least 55 states/provinces in this country.
Smooth sumac is a native, perennial, deciduous, thicket-forming shrub or small tree that grows from 2 to 20 feet (0.5 to 6 m). Branches tend to be fairly sparse, smooth, and stout. The flowers are borne in long (up to 18 inches (45 cm)), dense, compound, terminal panicles. The fruit is a small drupe containing a single small seed. Smooth sumac has a high tannin content.
Smooth sumac thickets are often connected by branched rhizomes. The main roots grow to depths of 7 to 8 feet (2.1-2.4 m) and give rise to many smaller roots. The dense network of main roots, relatively shallow laterals, and rhizomes promotes increased utilization of soil moisture and rapid vegetative spread. Rhizomes reach to a depth of 3 to 12 inches (7.6-30.5 cm).
Smooth sumac renews growth early in the year, with flowers developing before the leaves. Fruit ripens from September to October. Seed often persists through the fall and winter.