A native Ohio plant which makes a stunning winter display is also beneficial to many forms of wildlife. American Wildlife and Plants; A Guide to Wildlife Food Habits lists 46 species that utilize sumac berries in the winter. Rabbit, chipmunk, deer and moose (none of those in my neighborhood) are among the mammals, and the avian list goes on and on.
Staghorn Sumac, Rhus typhina is an important winter staple for gamebirds and thrushes alike. Hermit Thrushes are often found near a winter stake-out of the brilliant red berries, and their relatives, the Eastern Bluebird rely heavily on the berries when their preferred diet of insects are not available. Northern Cardinals, chickadees and titmice fixate on the winter berries as well. While they are not first fruits, or the most preferred berries, they provide life saving sustenance during harsh winter blows.
These attractive seed heads were growing near the bird feeder at Gorman Nature Center. Click on the link to visit their new website- which features the winter scene.
Sumac is also utilized by the human species as well, in the form of summer "pink-lemonade". Follow the link for a recipe!