Nature Study

Homeschool Nature Study: The Sumac Shrub

For 3 years now I have wondered and wondered what shrub this could be. I’m not great at identification and always doubt whether I have made a correct identification or not. Most of what the girls and I have learnt about nature is due to following Barb’s challenges.

It’s the rich, flaming autumn colours that caught my eye initially. To be honest I have not noticed it over the winter, spring and summer months although I will be sure to do so from now on :), But in autumn the Sumac stands out as a shining star amongst it’s fellow shrubs and trees.

So it was with much delight that courtesy of Barb’s Sumac Study I have been able to identify this pretty shrub.

They are all over our neighbourhood, mostly in gardens. I have not seen any growing out in the woodlands or countryside. We popped out to our nearest neighboring garden who’s Sumac grew along their boundary – we really don’t want to be found in someones  garden observing their plants – lol – we would be sure to be labelled as quite barmy and likely to get a flea in our ears 🙂

This particular Sumac had lost most of it’s leaves, but others in the neighbourhood were still adorned in their glorious autumnal cloaks. We noticed the ‘Stag-horn’ effect of the branches, and loved the silhouette it created without it’s leaves. It certainly makes quite a statement with and without it’s autumnal splendour.

Our Sumac was loaded with the dried remains of it’s summer flowers – no fruit for us to observe on our shrub. We were able to see the velvety branches and able to relate to both the ‘Velvet Sumac’ and the ‘Stag-horn Sumac’ names given in The Handbook of Nature Study.

We plucked a frond of leaves and a branch with flowers on it and headed home to make our journal entries.

Miss J-L’s page
Miss V-L’s page

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(7) Comments

  1. mamasmercantile says:

    What a wonderful way to spend time, learning together.

  2. Unknown says:

    So excited for you! I love being able to identify a local shrub! You did a great job on your journals…just lovely. Thanks for sharing your entry with the OHC Blog Carnival.

  3. Amanda says:

    Continue to watch it throughout the winter, birds will come to eat the seeds from those "cones". When I was young, the sumac and the mayapple were my favorite plants and I liked to pretend that I had discovered them and would go about my days documenting all the places I found one!

    1. Shirley-Ann says:

      Yes we will Amanda. I love the the OHC has made us aware of so many different plants. 😉

  4. Unknown says:

    So glad that you were able to identify your shrub! This is a great study of your sumac. Thank you for sharing your entry with the OHC Blog Carnival.

  5. Carol says:

    Lovely journal entry. We have a similar tree here called the rhus but it's highly toxic – a shame because it's quite striking.

  6. jan says:

    Isn't it great when you discover something right under your nose! Love your girls paintings x

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