Rhus integrifolia 25 Seeds - Lemonade Berry

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Rhus integrifolia, commonly known as lemonade berry, is an evergreen perennial shrub belonging to the sumac family, Anacardiaceae. R. integrifolia is native across southern California and Northern Mexico growing on slopes and canyon floors in coastal areas. This species is known to grow 3 to 6 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide in its native habitat. The leaves are lime green, ovate simple, and alternating with teeth on the margin. Leaves have a thick waxy cuticle while the new bark on stems has a red color and mature stems have gray bark. R. integrifolia blooms in late winter to early spring with 0.2 inch wide white to pinkish flowers. Later, these flowers from red to pinkish berries that are edible and taste like lemonade, giving this species its common name. These fruits have been used to make lemonade flavored drinks. R. integrifolia is also grown as an ornamental crop for its showy flowers and drought tolerance. Water adequately when soil is dry and allow the soil to dry out before watering again. Rhus integrifolia is a drought and salt tolerant plant that thrives in well draining soil and full sun but will tolerate partial shade. Avoid planting this species in areas with high frost exposure.  USDA plant hardiness zone 9 through 11.

Rhus integrifolia seeds should be pretreated with a light scarification from sandpaper or a file which significantly reduces germination time and success rates as the seed coat is waterproof and quite hard. This can be achieved by lightly scratching the surface of the seed being careful to not damage the embryo inside. After scarification, soak the seeds in warm water for 1 to 2 days prior to planting. Plant the seeds ¼  to ½  inch deep in a well draining potting mix. Cover sown pots in plastic or place them in a larger container to retain moisture and humidity. Place sown pots in indirect, yet bright sunlight with a temperature ranging between 70°F to 75°F. Germination typically takes 6 to 9 weeks to occur. Even with optimal conditions, germination may be slow and sporadic.



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