A winged sumac tree on private property in Benton County is now on the list of Missouri State Champion Trees.
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) recognizes state champion trees under a formula involving measurements of the trunk, height and spread.
MDC Resource Forester Jake Willard measured the tree. Willard recently presented Missouri State Champion Tree plaques to Bill Shumake, who owns the winged sumac, and Matt Arndt, who nominated the tree.
The tree is on Shumake’s propery near Edwards, Mo. Arndt is a private consulting forester who was conducting a timber inventory on the property when he found the tree.
The champion winged sumac measuree 11 inches in circumference on the truck, is 24 feet tall and has a spread of 11 feet. Those measurements are not huge as many trees grow. But they’re big for a winged sumac, which is a member of the cashew family of trees. The species is often found as a shrub. But some do grow into trees.
Winged sumacs produce red berries consumed by wildlife in winter. But the species also makes a good ornamental planting in lawns and gardens with dark-green, glossy leaves in summer that turn a brilliant crimson in autumn.
Winged sumac is also a native host plant for butterflies and moths, including the beautiful lime-green luna moth. Caterpillars feed on the leaves.