Just a couple weeks ago, some of the bushes along my woodland edges were abuzz with pollinator activity. The flowers of Smooth Sumac, Rhus glabra, were the magnet.
Butterflies, including this Red-banded Hairstreak, Calycopis cecrops, were part of the crowd.
Honey Bees, gathering nectar, to help some bee keeper with his honey supply were also attracted. And so many other insects. Sweat bees, wasps. Too many to identify or list here! Believe me, Abuzz!
Smooth Sumac is a dioecious plant, meaning that male and female flowers appear on separate bushes.
There are many references to a lemonade being made from the berries. Call me chicken, but I’m not going to experiment, particularly because I am allergic to nuts and the thought that this shrub is in the cashew family (Anacardiaceae) is warning enough for me.
Autumn brings scarlet to the sawtooth edged leaves.
The bushes form dense colonies, by means of root suckers, and are easily spotted along the roadsides in many areas, in the fall, thanks to the brilliant red foliage.
The berries are an emergency food for many, many song birds through the winter.
This Yellow-shafted Flicker, or Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus, is glad to have the emergency supply. I took this photograph during a heavy snow, back in February, 2010.
And as the seasons roll along, winter turns to spring. The compound leaves sprout, looking like ferns as they unfold. And the whole cycle repeats itself.