Glow in the dark

fall color on the tiger eyes sumac (Rhus typhina 'Bailtiger')The tiger eyes staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina ‘Bailtiger’ Tiger Eyes™) has been driving me to distraction all day. This is what happens to me in the fall. I can’t ride down any road without nearly driving off it rubbernecking some blazing tree. But I swear I’ve never before seen anything this color – anything besides flash-orange safety gear, that is. It’s really a good thing that I was only digging up plants today (there’s a frost warning in the forecast!) and not driving because I kept looking over my shoulders in disbelief. I wish the pictures did it justice, but you can get the idea: On a dark day, this sumac is lit like a beacon.

Tiger eye sumac's flash-orange fall color and Fuchsia triphylla 'Gartenmeister'

The tiger eye sumac at the top left of the "kid's bed" - in AugustIf I made a top 10 list or even a top 5, I think tiger eyes would have to be on it. In full sun, its electric yellow foliage might be a bit hard to take but we asked Fred and Dan to plant ours in the shade of the bamboo and the leaves remained a lovely chartreuse all season. Until now. Word is, it might spread aggressively in the way that sumac does, by sucker – but I really don’t think I’ll mind a some babies popping up here and there…

Do you have a tiger eye sumac and/or an opinion about it to share? Are there any other glow-in-the-dark beauties driving you to distraction right now?

3 thoughts on “Glow in the dark

  1. Oh. My. Gosh. I am in love with that sumac! Seriously, keep us all appraised of the suckering/lack of suckering you find with this one, please? I haven’t planted one yet for fear of suckering, but… I really wanted one even before seeing this amazing fall color. And now I’m completely in love!

    Kim, I understand completely and that’s why I have one in my garden – may it live long and sucker! Blithewold’s had been in the nursery bed for three years or so and I asked Dan if he remembered it suckering. He said yes but that it “wasn’t bad.” There you go – now go get one! With any luck your neighbors will be happy when it pops up on their side of the fence. -kris

  2. I’ve just discovered this beauty at a friend’s house which lead me to my local garden center where the very knowledgeable ‘tree guy’ informed me that it is not considered to be invasive – slow spreading. Hence, I expect that suckering is manageable and therefore perfect for my location.

    as for the deer, how about the spray repellant derived from predator urine. It’s not toxic (though a bit odoriferous at first) and I’ve had success with the bunny version. It drives them off before they eat it.

    Catherine, I agree with the assessment that this is not invasive – I’d call it aggressive in a good way. We’ve been potting up the suckers and the ones that survive the transplant are gorgeous in mixed containers. We haven’t had a problem with deer eating it – but then there are so many other things for them to eat here that very few things end up looking ravaged. That said, we do spray the tulips with a variety of stinky solutions and I prefer the ones that are egg or herb-based. -kris

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