Staghorn sumach (Rhus typhina)
NE corner of Campus Services Building
Identified by its long slender leaves, its name derives from the velvety texture and the forking pattern of the branches, reminiscent of antlers, have led to the common name "stag's horn sumach." It is native to eastern North America, but is a popular garden plant throughout much of the rest of the continent, as well as northern Europe. It grows in a wide variety of conditions and spreads vigorously via root suckers.
Its spring flowers are nothing special, but in late summer and fall its leaves turn red, orange and deep yellow, providing one of the relatively few fall treats afforded by a native tree.
In 2007 the WWU staghorn sumach had something of the appearance of a weed. Perhaps someday it will be big, bushy and grand. Then, conceivably, it may help students through the unpleasantness of paying their parking fines.
See Rhus typhina on Wikipedia.