Littleleaf Sumac, Rhus microphylla, is a native shrub to Arizona, found in elevations varying from 2000 feet up to 6000 feet. For Tucson area landscaping, the Littleleaf Sumac makes a good wildlife plant, as the bright red berries appearing in late summer are relished by birds. This plant also provides good cover and nesting sites for birds and small mammals.
This slow-growing, deciduous shrub eventually reaches about 6 feet tall and 8 feet wide. The arching branches have an attractive form, and the lacy, compound leaves turn red to orange in the fall.
The Littleleaf Sumac can take full sun or part shade. Since in its native habitat it is found up to 6000 feet, it probably will need extra water when planted in full sun.
Use the Littleleaf Sumac along with other desert natives, such as the Velvet Mesquite and Beargrass. Adding an Ocotillo would add a bold texture to the grouping.
Reference: Mountain States Wholesale Nursery and Gregg Starr Nursery Plant Info Sheet, 1999.