Specification & Spread

Sicilian sumach leaves — folia rhois coriariae
Sicilian sumach — rhus coriaria l.
Sumach family — anacardiaceae

It is a shrub or small, low-branching tree 1 to 3 m tall.
The bark of trees and old bushes are brownish and loosely fluffy. On the annual shoots the bark is brownish, fluffy rough, on the perennial stocks and branches it is dark brown.
The leaves are alternate, conjugate, with 9–17 (usually 4–8) pairs of sedentary opposite folioles of lanceolate, oblong-elliptical, or oblong-ovate shape. The laminas are coarsely fluffy, dark green above, almost grey below, 2–8 cm long, 1.5–3 cm wide, with a wide wedge-shaped base and an acuminate tip, and large-sized pilchat along the edge. The petioles are winged.
The flowers are with double pentameous perianth, dioecious, small, greenish-white, inconspicuous, gathered in large conical apical and smaller axillary inflorescences – male and female panicles. The male panicle is branchy and up to 25 cm long, the female is more dense and up to 15 cm long.
The sepals are rounded and ovoid, green. The petals are ovate, elongated and whitish.
The staminate flowers are with 5 stamens, the pistillate ones are with one pistil having a single-nodule and a tripartite stigma.
The fruits are small, spherical or reniform, single-seeded red drupes.

It blooms in June – July, sometimes there is a secondary bloom in the fall. The first fruits ripen in July, its mass ripening occurs in September – October.

Spreading. This is a Mediterranean plant with an extensive, intermittent range. It grows in the lower and middle mountain zone to a height of 1000 m above sea level in the Crimea and the Caucasus and to a height of 1800 m above sea level in the Pamir-Alai.

Habitat. It grows on dry open slopes of the southern exposure, usually not forming a continuous thickets. It is cultivated.


The leaves contain:

  • up to 25-33% of tannins, of which 15% is tannin; free gallic acid; gallic acid methyl ester;
  • flavonoid glycosides,
  • derivatives of quercetin,
  • kaempferol, myritin.

Harvesting and storage of raw materials

Harvesting. It is produced in the period of the highest content of tannins in the plant – the leaves are harvested during flowering and fruiting (June – August). You can cut entirely the young leafy shoots.

Security measures. You can not break off the branches. The growth can be exploited not more than 1 time in 2 years.

Drying. It is produced outdoors or in dryers at temperatures up to 50 ºС.

Storage. It is stored in a dry and dark place. It is packed in bags.

The leaves are single-pinnate, having 9-17 pairs of lanceolate, oblong-elliptical or oblong-ovate, large-toothed leaves; whole or broken up leaves.
The colour is dark green above and grey below. The taste is astringent.

Properties and application

The pharmacological properties of sumach

Tannin has:

  • astringent
  • anti-inflammatory and
  • antiseptic properties.

Application of sumach

Industrial source for obtaining medical tannin (similar to tannery leaves).

It is not prescribed to patients with an increased risk of thrombosis, with acute and chronic hyperacid gastritis and gastric ulcer.