Jump to content

Rhus coriaria

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rhus coriaria
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Anacardiaceae
Genus: Rhus
R. coriaria
Binomial name
Rhus coriaria
  • Rhus heterophylla C.C.Gmel.
  • Rhus sumac O.Targ.Tozz.
  • Rhus variifolia DC.
  • Toxicodendron coriaria (L.) Kuntze

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



The word originally comes from hebrew - סמק.... ....then through the Aramaic summāqā 'red', via Arabic, Latin, and French.[5]

Distribution and habitat


Rhus coriaria is native to the Eastern Mediterranean, Crimea, Caucasus and northern Iran, but is now naturalized in most of the Mediterranean Basin as well as Macaronesia.[6]



The plant will grow in any type of soil that is deep and well-drained.[7]



The fruit has a sour taste; dried and crushed, it is a popular spice in the Middle East.[7] 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 lemons in modern times. It is traditionally used and also clinically investigated for lipid lowering effects.[8]

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.[7]

Oil extracted from the seeds can be used to make candles.[7]




  1. ^ Rivers, M.C.; Harvey-Brown, Y. (2020). "Rhus coriaria". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2020: e.T63485A112727303. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-3.RLTS.T63485A112727303.en. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  2. ^ a b c "Rhus coriaria". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  3. ^ USDA, NRCS (n.d.). "Rhus coriaria". The PLANTS Database (plants.usda.gov). Greensboro, North Carolina: National Plant Data Team. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  4. ^ BSBI List 2007 (xls). Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
  5. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd edition, September 2019, s.v.
  6. ^ "Rhus coriaria" (PDF). Flora Iberica. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  7. ^ a b c d Plants for a Future database accessed August 2010
  8. ^ 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.