family: Sumac (Anacardiaceae)
> no'aneonó'e, "mixing bush"
smooth sumac fruits: no'aneonémama'kemènȯtse, "mixing red berries"
smooth sumac leaves: no'aneonȯtse, "mixing things"
Smooth sumac is bush 3 to 5 m tall. It has glabrous, purplish, prunoise shoots. Leaves are odd-pinnate, composed of 11 to 31 leaflets, around 7 cm long. Flowers are small, greenish, in big inflorescences at the ends of branches. It blossoms in May and June. Cluster of fruits is red, 10 to 25 cm long. It ripens in August and September. It grows in higher levels of prairies, on pastures, at the edge of forests, along lines and roads. It ranges in wide belt from the eastern USA, all over the Great Plains to British Columbia. In the Czech Republic, it occurs rarely in dendrological gardens and parks. It is much alike staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina) which occurs frequently in the gardens like ornamental woody species in the Czech Republic. Staghorn sumac differs from smooth sumac with hairy branches and it is a little larger.
Sumac leaves were sometimes mixed with tobacco and smoked (Grinnell 1923 II: 180). They were used for smoking still in 1940’s but this component of smoking mixture is extinct today. Jim Spear, a Northern Cheyennne, claimed sumac leaves are bitter (Hart 1981: 14).
William Red Hat, former Keeper of maahótse (the Sacred Arrows), refered that the Cheyenne Arrow Keeper smokes only sumac leaves, roasted in grease, in his pipe. In Autumn, when the leaves are red they are picked and laid out in the sun to get dry. Hereupon, they are put in the pot with a piece of buffalo kidney fat, all is mixed well, and the leaves are roasted until they are darkened and fragile. According to William Red Hat’s words, "When you smoke with the spirits, there has to be something representative in it for everything that’s alive. Kidney fat and sumac represent the spirits of earth and plants. That’s what the Arrow Keeper is smoking in his tipi." It is said this tobacco of sumac leaves has a mild taste and smells very pleasingly and sweet. The Cheyenne Keeper of maahótse is bound with some ceremonial restrictions hence he kept away from smoking marijuana and even cigarets, by the way very popular among Native Americans (Schukies 1993: 49, 209).
Cheyennes made flutes of sumac wood sometimes. The flutes were 50 to 60 cm long, with four to six holes (Little Chief and Gatschet 1891: 3).