SMOKE TREE

FAMILY: Anacardiaceae | GENUS: COTINUS

TYPE
  • Deciduous
  • Shrubs
  • Trees
SUN EXPOSURE
  • Full Sun
WATER
  • Moderate Water
PLANTING ZONES
  • US (Upper South) / Zone 6
  • MS (Middle South) / Zone 7
  • LS (Lower South) / Zone 8

Plant Details

Unusual and colorful shrub-trees creating broad, urn-shaped mass usually as wide as high. Naturally multistemmed but can be trained to a single trunk. Common name derived from dramatic puffs of smoke from fading flowers: As the tiny greenish blooms wither, they send out elongated stalks clothed in a profusion of fuzzy, lavender-pink hairs. Plants tolerate poor or rocky soil. In cultivated gardens, give them fast drainage and avoid overly wet conditions. Not browsed by deer.

smoke tree

cotinus coggygria

  • Native from southern Europe to central China.
  • Typically 1215 feet high and wide, though it may eventually reach 25 feet The roundish, 1- to 3 inches leaves are bluish green in the species, but purple-leafed types are more commonly grown.
  • Leaves of 'Nordine' ('Nordine Red') and 'Purpureus' emerge purple and gradually turn green; 'Notcutt's Variety', 'Royal Purple', and 'Velvet Cloak' hold their purple color through most of the summer.
  • Those with purple foliage have richer purple smoke puffs than the species.
  • Golden Spirit reaches about 7 feet high and 6 feet wide, with leaves that are lime-green in spring and turn golden yellow in summer.
  • Pink Champagne is a green-leafed selection with pinkish tan puffs.
  • Leaves of all types change in fall, taking on colors ranging from yellow to orange-red.

cotinus 'Grace

  • Handsome hybrid between Cotinus coggygria and Cotinus obovatus.
  • To 15 feet tall and wide, with blue-green foliage shaded purple.
  • Large deep pink puffs.
  • Orange and purple-red fall foliage.

american smoke tree

cotinus obovatus

  • From eastern U.S. Small, rounded tree to 2030 feet tall and wide; deserves much wider use.
  • Blue-green leaves turn yellow, orange, and reddish purple in fall.
  • Takes alkaline soil; often found growing wild on Edwards Plateau in Texas.

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