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Woody > Rhus > Rhus typhina > Rhus typhina 'Bailtiger'

Rhus typhina


Tiger Eyes® Sumac

Origin:  A mutation of Rhus typhina ‘Laciniata’, it was discovered and propagated at Bailey Nurseries in Newport, Minnesota, United States of America, in 1985.
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One of the Trademark wonders. It was discovered in Bailey Nurseries in 1985, The Tiger Eyes® Sumac is a woody plant that combines the visual characteristics of the Cutleaf Sumac (Rhus typhina ‘Laciniata’) with its hardiness, in a dwarfed, bolder, slightly less aggressive shrub. The deeply cut leaves emerge a bronze yellow, maturing into canary yellow and chartreuse green for the summer only to go alight with fiery oranges, yellows, and reds in the autumn. The green and gold leaves are contrasted by the furry pink rachis and petioles. The red cone-shaped fruits may attract birds and give some seasonal autumnal/winter interest, though they are smaller, more inconspicuous, and less frequent compared to the wild species (Rhus typhina) fruit. Excellent as a specimen or for mass plantings, it’s exotic foliage looks great in oriental gardens, and stands out especially well when planted in-front of dark-leafed shrubs or trees, such as Physocarpus and Cotinus cultivars as well as yellow-leaved perennials. Although it is tamer in regards to suckering habit and overall vigor compared to other Sumac varieties, pruning and root disturbance may trigger a rapid increase of spreading suckers.

Michael Pascoe, NDP., ODH., CLT., MSc. (Plant Conservation)


Shrub (deciduous)
Registered Name
Tiger Eyes®
Patent Number
USDA Hardiness Zone
Canadian Hardiness Zone
RHS Hardiness Zone
Temperature (°C)
Temperature (°F)
1.5 - 1.8 m
1.5 - 1.8 m
Description and Growing Information
Flowering Period
General Description
It is a small to medium shrub, with finely dissected chartreuse/yellow foliage. Sometimes it produces red cone-shaped fruit panicles that persist through winter.
It can be used as massing or a specimen plant providing beautiful autumn colour. Tiger Eyes® Sumac works great in oriental, wild, and transitional gardens. It is also suitable in large container gardens. Its drought-tolerance and generally disease-free nature make it excellent for low-maintenance xeriscape gardens.
It prefers infertile, dry, well-drained soils, but is adaptable to a wide range of conditions including soil pH and soil textures with the exception of poorly drained soggy soils. Full sun to partial shade exposure conditions are acceptable but it exhibits the best foliage colour when planted under full sun. It is both urban and moderately salt tolerant.
The shrub is rounded and upright.
ID Characteristic
The foliage has a chartreuse and/or canary yellow colouration and the plant itself has a dwarf (1.8 m) growth habit. Lance-shaped leaflet configuration and irregularly incised with deeper incision towards the base of the leaflets on a compound leaf. Furry pink/cherry pink rachises, petioles, and young stems. It has atypical foliage colour and a much smaller maximum size compared to other Rhus typhina cultivars.
Although generally pest and disease free, it can potentially suffer from verticillium wilt, powdery mildew, rusts, cankers, mites, aphids, scales, and mites.
Horticulral origin.
Bark/Stem Description
Younger stems of 1-3 years of age are often pubescent and cherry pink and conceal any visible lenticels. Older wood is smooth and grey-green but bear distinct C-shaped leaf scars and rounded brown-orange lenticels.
Flower/Leaf Bud Description
Pubescent light cone-shaped leaf buds are sometimes surrounded by black C-shaped leaf scars: the buds are alternately arranged on the branches.
Leaf Description
Leaves are pinnately compounded and arranged alternately. The apex is acute, margins are incised irregularly with deeper incisions toward the base while leaf size is commonly about 30-60 cm in length with 14-28 leaflets per leaf. Leaflet size ranges from 6.5 - 14 cm in length, while the leaflet width ranges from 1.5 - 3.75 cm. Leaflets slant downward in a descending arch while the branches angle upward. Rachises are pubescent in texture while the leaves are bronze-yellow when young in spring, aging to canary yellow and chartreuse green in the summer, however in the autumn they change into various oranges, yellows, and reds.
Flower Description
Greenish-yellow dioecious female flowers are in terminal, dense, pubescent, cone-shaped panicles. The size of the flower panicles range from 15-30 cm.
Fruit Description
The fruit is similar in size and shape to the flower clusters. It consists of tiny crimson pubescent drupes that may persist through the winter.
Colour Description
Young leaves emerge bronze yellow in spring, maturing to canary yellow and chartreuse green in the summer but change to oranges, yellows, and reds in the autumn. Rachises and petioles stay cherry pink regardless of growing season. 1-3 year old stems are cherry pink and older wood is grey-green year-round. Greenish-yellow flowers bloom in June-July while fruit ripens from green to crimson red in autumn, becoming duller and darker red as they remain on the plant towards winter.
Texture Description
The fine texture from the foliage during the growing season is contrasted to a coarse texture from the bark and thick branches during the winter season.
Notable Specimens
The Gardens of Fanshawe College, London, Ontario, Canada.
As it is a cultivar, the best method of propagation is by root cuttings during late autumn or early winter when the plant is at the start of dormancy. Expose part of the plant’s roots (It does not have to be the shrub’s entire root zone) and cut several roots off with a sharp knife or secateurs. Refill the hole to cover the remaining roots on the parent plant. Wash the removed roots to remove any remaining clinging soil. Cut the roots into 6-7.5 cm long pieces. Make a flat cut on the end that was facing the plant’s trunk, while also making a sloped cut on the other end. Insert the cuttings slope-side down into moist planting media, and then cover thinly with sharp sand. Gently water the cuttings in the planting media and place into a cold frame until growth appears. In which this case the cuttings can then be potted up individually or planted into a landscape (Squire 23). It must be noted that this cultivar is under US patent PP#16185. It cannot legally be propagated without the permission of the patent-holder for 20 years from January 2006.
Dirr, Michael. 'Manual of Woody Landscape Plants: Their Identification, Ornamental Characteristics, Culture, Propagation and Uses.' Champaign, Ill: Stipes Pub, 2009: 1007-1008. Print. Jorgensen, Steven. 'Staghorn sumac plant named `Bailtiger`.' United States Patent Jan. 3, 2006. Web. 18 Oct. 2013.