views updated May 21 2018


SUMAC (mishnaic Heb. אוֹג), the Arabic name for the Rhus coriaria. This shrub or low tree, belonging to the family Anacardiadeae, which includes the *terebinth and the *pistachio, grows wild in the groves of Israel. The tree is dioecious, with pinnate leaves containing a high proportion of tannin which is used in the manufacture of leather, whence its Hebrew name og ha-bursaka'im ("tanner's sumac"). The female trees bear reddish fruits (in Ar. sumac means "red") arranged in dense clusters. The fruits are shaped like lentils, and are hairy with an acrid taste. It is used as a spice by some Oriental communities. It was cultivated in mishnaic times and is therefore reckoned with those fruits to which the law of *pe'ah applied (Pe'ah 1:5), but in Judea where it grew wild abundantly it was not very highly valued and a lenient attitude was adopted about pe'ah (Dem. 1:1).


Loew, Flora, 1 (1925), 200–2. add. bibliography: Feliks, Ha-Ẓome'aḥ, 19.

[Jehuda Feliks]


views updated May 23 2018

su·mac / ˈsoōmak; ˈshoō-/ (also sumach) • n. a shrub or small tree (genera Rhus and Cotinus) of the cashew family, with compound leaves, fruits in conical clusters, and bright autumn colors. Its several species include the North American staghorn sumac (R. typhina), with densely clustered reddish hairy fruits, and poison sumac (R. vernix), with loosely clustered greenish-white fruits. Touching any part of the poison sumac can cause severe dermatitis.


views updated May 18 2018

Rhus (family Anacardiaceae) A genus of shrubs, small trees, or climbers, which produce a resinous, highly irritant exudate. Several species (e.g. sumac) are ornamentals. R. toxicodendron is poison ivy of N. America. R. verniciflua of China yields lacquer from the trunk and its powdered leaves yield tannin. There are about 200 species, occurring in tropical and warm temperate regions.


views updated Jun 11 2018

sumac(h) preparation of dried leaves of plants of the genus Rhus XIV; plant of this genus XVI. — (O)F. sumac or medL. sumac(h) — Arab. summāḳ.


views updated May 29 2018

sumac See RHUS.