This native, deciduous shrub occurs on prairies, fields, abandoned farmland, clearings and along roads and railroads. A large, open, irregular, spreading shrub which typically grows 8-15′ tall and spreads by root suckers to form thickets or large colonies in the wild similar to staghorn sumac (R. typhina)Foliage has a fern-like look and turns to stunning shades of bright orange and red in fall. Female plants produce showy erect fruiting clusters up to 8″ tall. Clusters contain numerous hairy, berry-like drupes which ripen red in autumn, gradually turning maroon-brown as they persist through most of the winter.
Fruit attracts wildlife, and the foliage is a larval host for hairstreak butterfly and the luna moth.