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Rhus ovata

Pronunciation: Roos oh-vay-ta
Family: Anacardiaceae
Common Name: Sugar bush, sugarbush
Plant Type:
  • trees, shrubs
Height to: 15'
Width to: 15'
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • 10 to 0ºF ZONE 7
  • 20 to 10ºF ZONE 8
  • 30 to 20ºF ZONE 9
  • 40 to 30ºF ZONE 10
  • 50 to 40ºF ZONE 11
Notes for Identification: Origin: from california's south and central coastal chaparral communities to central and southeast arizona mountain slopes and canyons (mostly 3,500 to 7,000 ft) hardiness zones sunset 7-24 usda 7-11 landscape use: native landscape plantings, parks, freeway plantings, restoration plantings, large landscape spaces, filler plant, background and screening plant. Form & character: evergreen large shrub, sprawling, informal, stiff, coarse and leathery. Growth habit: moderate rate of growth generally 6' to 15' in height with somewhat equal spread. Foliage/texture: opposite, glabrous, leathery, ovate simple leaves to 3" long on a gray stem, brittle branches,trunk shapggy brown with age, coarse texture flowers & fruits: small terminal clusters of cream flowers (pink sepals) in late winter and spring, flowers attract bees; fruit a small reddish drupe, somewhat edible (not much in the way of edible mesocarp). Seasonal color: subtle flower display in spring and fruit display in fall, otherwise none. Temperature: tolerant light: full sun only soil: a well drained soil is a must for this large native shrub. It is tolerant of soil alkalinity watering: give sugar bush infrequent deep irrigations in low elevation desert area landscapes for best response. In higher elevation landscapes, no supplemental water is needed. Pruning: prune lightly infrequently and only as needed to maintain a natural shape. Sugar bush does not respond well to significant crown reduction or canopy thinning. Propagation: mostly by seed, soak seeds in warm water (slowly allowed to cool) for at least one day before sowing; some heeled semihardwood cuttings in summer and root cuttings in winter. Disease and pests: root rot in chronically wet soils. Additional comments: sugar bush is a serviceable large shrub for native style plantings. Plant it in an area without adequate space and it will not perform well when in turn it needs to be pruned regularly. Now some say "rhus ovata" is really weird. Source: asu
USDA Heat Zones (days above 86ºF):
  • 60 to 90 days ZONE 7
  • 90 to 120 days ZONE 8
  • 120 to 150 days ZONE 9
  • 150 to 180 days ZONE 10
  • 180 to 210 days ZONE 11
  • Greater then 210 ZONE 12
Seed photo: 0
Located in: Trees, Shrubs
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