Winter Botany Study, Part 4: Smooth Sumac

Bark, bark, bark, bark. Someone doesn’t wish there to be a sumac thicket inside the Cibola Wilderness boundary adjacent to the Indian School Trails. A few years ago all of the 3”+ diameter trunks were cut down and left on site to decompose. I remembered seeing these cut sumac trunks last year, and a few days ago reinvestigated the site for drawing ideas. I was very interested to see such intricate details in the slabs of barked that had peeled away from the down and dead trunks. (I also noted all of the new shoots that have resprouted from the cut trunks!)

I collected a few samples of the peeled bark. This drawing is my attempt to capture that detail.

Smooth sumac bark, 9×12 inches, graphite (bark) and tinted water soluble graphite (shadows)

Leafy stem update

The leafy stem collected late December has stopped growing now; still no sign of roots. The new stem collected from the Indian School Trail sumac patch has been planted in garden soil and placed in a south facing window (indoors). Will this new dormant stem develop roots? Will the terminal bud or any other lateral buds swell? Will leaves emerge from any swelling buds and how many leaves will there be? Fingers crossed!

Will there be a Winter Botany Study, Part 5?


  1. peacefulbird says:

    Wow, your graphite rendition of the bark is so rich in detail, the dark, medium, and light areas perfectly revealing the contours of the bark! I’ve never heard of water-soluble graphite, much less of tinting same… Would appreciate a little more info about that. I’m loving the Sumac thread!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for the comments, Robin. I had fun with the bark piece. It was actually quite meditative; relaxing. The water soluble tinted graphite I use is from a set by Derwent, called Graphitints. Found them on Amazon. Really a nice set and very useful, especially for shading. Thanks for asking.


  2. sgoodman56 says:

    it will be interesting to see if they root, keep us posted!

    Liked by 1 person

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