|Evergreen Sumac (Rhus virens)
We spent the end of 2012 and beginning of 2013 in West Texas camping and exploring the Big Bend area. The desert is amazingly beautiful and quiet. I am always impressed by the colors, the canyons and the oases along the Rio Grande River. There were plenty of winter berries and even some lingering prickly pear fruits to partake of. Everywhere we looked in the Chisos Basin, evergreen sumac berries were perfectly red ripe. The tiny, hard berries are a delight to taste - simply pop them in your mouth and suck off the bit of tart pulp around the hard seed. It's a good way to get your Vitamin C in the mountains (but be sure to spit out the hard seed.) You can also make a lovely tart drink called Sumac-aide ( because it resembles lemonade or kool-aid) by soaking a handful of berries in 2 cups of warm water overnight. Strain out the berries the next day, add a bit of sweetener and enjoy!