Peering into the leaves of the Staghorn Sumac, it looks like it could be out of a rainforest, but the truth is that it’s a common primary succession shrub that grows in temperate zones; very romantic, eh?
One would assume that these feathery red clusters that grow up toward the sky would be the flowers, but incidentally, they are the seeds, the flowers are white and delicate. The birds generally don’t eat the seeds until winter, so they must not be a very tasty.
Looking down into the whorl of compound leaves growing off the branch, the colors jump out at me: a rainbow from red to purple meets my artist’s eye. But artist beware: the whitish sap of this shrub can cause an allergic reaction to sensitive skin, best to just photograph and be gone.