SelecTree: Tree Detail

Rhus ovata

Rhus ovata Rhus ovata Rhus ovata Rhus ovata Rhus ovata Rhus ovata Rhus ovata Rhus ovata Rhus ovata Rhus ovata

Photo Locations: The Living Desert - Palm Desert, CA and San Luis Obispo, CA

General Notes

Utility Friendly Tree Utility friendly tree.

Native to dry slopes away from the coast. Fairly cold hardy. Fruit often used to make a lemonade-like drink. Branches droop but resist breakage. Care should be taken when pruning as sap can cause a rash.

Has fragrant Flower.

Native to Arizona, Southern and Baja California.

Trees may be referred to as male or female.

A Rhus ovata in Anza Borrego State Park is registered as a California Big Tree. It measures 16 feet high, with a trunk circumference of 26 inches and a crown spread of 30 feet.

Family: Anacardiaceae


Schmaltzia ovata

Tree Characteristics

Rounded Shape.

Has Evergreen foliage.

Height: 5 - 10 feet.

Width: 5 - 10 feet.

Growth Rate: 12 to 36 Inches per Year.

Leaves Ovate, Dark Green, No Change, Evergreen.

Flowers Showy. Fragrant White or Pink. Flowers in Spring. Has either male or female flowers (dioecious). Trees may be sold as male or female.

Persistent, Red Berry, fruiting in Summer Edible and Wildlife use it.

Bark Light Brown or Gray, Rough or Smooth.

Shading Capacity Rated as Moderate to Moderately Dense in Leaf.

Tree Site Conditions & Constraints

Sunset Zones 9 - 12 and 14 - 24.

USDA Hardiness Zones 7 - 11.

Exposure Full Sun to Partial Shade.

Well Drained Soil.

Drought tolerant.

Clay, Loam or Sand Texture.

Slightly Acidic to Slightly Alkaline Soil pH.

Health, Safety & Environmental Concerns

Root Damage Potential Rated as Low.

Desirable Wildlife Plant.

Attracts Bees, Butterflies, and Birds.

Wildlife use Fruit.

Special Uses & Values

Specimen, Buffer Strip or Container.

Cite this tree:
SelecTree. "Rhus ovata Tree Record." 1995-2018. May 25, 2018.
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This tree is not part of the SelecTree Nursery Connection. If you would like to see this tree listed, or know of a nursery that sells it, please contact us at