Trees: The beautiful Staghorn sumac – (Cashew family)

  • 7 January 2005
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So it was great to find that Ireland has the perfect climate for the staghorn. It can grow, quite rapidly, up to 25 feet tall and spread to about 15 feet. Very manageable. It is really a good all rounder in that it looks delicately pretty in spring, with intense colour in summer and completely magnificent, with colours ranging from yellow, orange, red, dark red to almost purple in autumn, up until mid-November in fact. As well as its leaves, though, it has a magnificent crimson, pyramidal spiky fruit, which stands up on the leaves and outlasts them through December. Although they are easy to grow, twice my baby trees have been munched by the cat: the head just chomped off. Well, the cat is the prime suspect, although humans are not being ruled out. Perhaps a vet could explain that.

The next one will have a cat-proof cage.