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Cotinus obovatus

Common Name(s):
American smoketree
Categories:
Shrubs, Trees
Comment:

A medium-maintenance small tree or upright shrub in the Anacardiaceae family.  American smoke tree is native to the southern United States. Its common name is not from the 6-10" flower clusters (tiny, insignificant, dioecious, yellowish-green flowers) which bloom in June, but from the billowy hairs (attached to elongated stalks on the spent flower clusters) which turn a smoky pink to purplish pink in summer, thus covering the tree with fluffy, hazy, smoke-like puffs.  The summer "smoke" display makes this a striking accent plant. It also produces some of the best fall color of any of the native American trees and shrubs.  It looks great massed or planted at the back of a shrub border.  It does use a fair amount of water especially in dry conditions.

Seasons of Interest:

    Bloom: Summer  Foliage: Fall

Wildlife Value: This plant is resistant to damge by deer.

Play Value: Wildlife Enhancement

Notes: Outstanding fall foliage

Seed: Drupe 

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No serious insect or disease problems. Sometimes leaf spots, rust and wilt can cause issues on stressed trees.

 

Height:
20-30 ft.
Foliage:
Good fall leaf color
Flower:
Insignificant, yellowish-green, appear May-June
Zones:
4-8
Habit:
Deciduous
Site:
Prefers medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun. Adaptable to wide range of soils, including poor rocky or clay soils, but prefers well-drained, somewhat infertile loams.
Texture:
Fine
Form:
Rounded
Width:
20-30 ft.
Leaf:
Bluish green leaves, obovate. Foliage turns a variety of colors in the fall (including yellow, red, orange and reddish purple).
Tags:
small tree, deciduous, fall color, play, playground, children’s garden, shrub boarder, drought resistant, deer resistant, clay soil

NCCES plant id: 3209

Cotinus obovatus A very old, large specimen with spectacular fall color at the Kew in England
David Hawgood, CC-BY-SA-2.0
Cotinus obovatus Leaves
peganum, CC-BY-SA-3.0
Cotinus obovatus Billowy smoky effect.
Charles T. Bryson, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org, CC-BY-SA-3.0