Rhus coriaria

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Rhus coriaria
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Anacardiaceae
Genus: Rhus
R. coriaria
Binomial name
Rhus coriaria

Rhus coriaria, commonly called Sicilian sumac,[2] tanner's sumach,[3] or elm-leaved sumach, is a deciduous shrub to small tree in the Anacardiaceae or cashew family, native to southern Europe.[4] The dried fruits are used as a spice, particularly in combination with other spices in the mixture called za'atar.


The plant will grow in any type of soil that is deep and well-drained.[4]


The word originally comes from Aramaic summāqā 'red', via Arabic, Latin, and French.[5]


The fruit has a sour taste; dried and crushed, it is a popular spice in the Middle East.[4] Immature fruits and seeds are also eaten. Mature fruits were also known well before lemons to the Europeans since the times of the ancient Romans, who appreciated its sourness and used it in vinaigrettes like in modern era we use lemons. It is traditionally used and also clinically investigated for lipid lowering effects.[6]

The leaves and the bark were traditionally used in leather tanning and contain tannic acid.

Dyes of various colours, red, yellow, black, and brown, can be made from different parts of the plant.[4]

Oil extracted from the seeds can be used to make candles.[4]



  1. ^ "Paroreomyza montana". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2019. 2019. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  2. ^ "Rhus coriaria". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  3. ^ "BSBI List 2007". Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-01-25. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
  4. ^ a b c d e Plants for a Future database accessed August 2010
  5. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd edition, September 2019, s.v.
  6. ^ Hajmohammadi, Zahra; Heydari, Mojtaba; Nimrouzi, Majid; Faridi, Pouya; Zibaeenezhad, Mohammad Javad; Omrani, Gholamhossein Ranjbar; Shams, Mesbah (2018). "Rhus coriaria L. Increases serum apolipoprotein-A1 and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels: A double-blind placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial". Journal of Integrative Medicine. 16 (1): 45–50. doi:10.1016/j.joim.2017.12.007. PMID 29397092.