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Staghorn Sumac  Rhus typhina
The staghorn sumac is a common wayside shrub, distinctive for its thick, fuzzy twigs and upright cluster of fuzzy red berries. Not to be confused with poison sumac - which is an entirely different plant, with white berries - red staghorn sumac berries are rich in vitamin C and are relished by mice, ruffed grouse, pheasants, bobwhites, and many songbirds. The branches reminded the earliest British colonialists of the antlered buck in velvet, hence the name. Native Americans used the berries to make a tart and refreshing tea, and such a tea can still take the edge off a hot afternoon. In summer, pick a generous handful of fresh berries, drop them into a pot, and mash them slightly. Cover with boiling water and allow them to steep until the water is well colored. Strain through two thicknesses of cloth to remove the fine hairs; sweeten to taste and serve hot hot or cold.

ifveniceissinking:

Staghorn Sumac  Rhus typhina

The staghorn sumac is a common wayside shrub, distinctive for its thick, fuzzy twigs and upright cluster of fuzzy red berries. Not to be confused with poison sumac - which is an entirely different plant, with white berries - red staghorn sumac berries are rich in vitamin C and are relished by mice, ruffed grouse, pheasants, bobwhites, and many songbirds. The branches reminded the earliest British colonialists of the antlered buck in velvet, hence the name.

Native Americans used the berries to make a tart and refreshing tea, and such a tea can still take the edge off a hot afternoon. In summer, pick a generous handful of fresh berries, drop them into a pot, and mash them slightly. Cover with boiling water and allow them to steep until the water is well colored. Strain through two thicknesses of cloth to remove the fine hairs; sweeten to taste and serve hot hot or cold.