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Smoketree Cotinus

Other Common Name(s):

Other plants called Smoketree:

Previously known as:

  • Rhus cotinus
Phonetic Spelling
ko-TYE-nus
Description

Smoketree is a flowering deciduous small tree or shrub closely related to the sumac.  It has very colorful, interesting leaves and airy flowers.  The most common variety in the garden are purple leaved, however, green leaved varieties are also quite showy.  It is commonly grown for the large, plume-like panicles that give a smokey haze to the tips of the branches.  They appear after the flowers and are long-lasting.  On select varieties, locating this plant in full sun allows the purple leaves to be at their finest.  

There are three species originating from Europe and Asia, southeast US and southwest China ranging from 4' to heights in excess of 20'.

Insects, Diseases, and other Plant Problems:  Powdery mildew and verticillium wilt are occasional issues.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Daydream'
    Abundant flowering and outstanding fall color.
  • 'Golden Spirit'
    Award winning, noted for its foliage.
  • 'Grace'
    Bright red foliage becomes dark red in summer.
  • 'Royal Purple'
    Purplish red foliage.
'Daydream', 'Golden Spirit', 'Grace', 'Royal Purple'
Tags:
#hardy#small tree#small spaces#drought tolerant#specimen#native tree#deciduous shrub#native shrub#showy leaves#colorful leaves#fall interest#accent plant#interesting leaves#airy#deer resistant#deciduous tree#rocky soils tolerant#clay soils tolerant#dry soils tolerant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Daydream'
    Abundant flowering and outstanding fall color.
  • 'Golden Spirit'
    Award winning, noted for its foliage.
  • 'Grace'
    Bright red foliage becomes dark red in summer.
  • 'Royal Purple'
    Purplish red foliage.
'Daydream', 'Golden Spirit', 'Grace', 'Royal Purple'
Tags:
#hardy#small tree#small spaces#drought tolerant#specimen#native tree#deciduous shrub#native shrub#showy leaves#colorful leaves#fall interest#accent plant#interesting leaves#airy#deer resistant#deciduous tree#rocky soils tolerant#clay soils tolerant#dry soils tolerant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Cotinus
    Species:
    Cotinus
    Family:
    Anacardiaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The wood has been used to make yellow dye.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Layering
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Europe, China, East Central and Southeastern U.S.A, Mexico
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Buffer
    Colorful
    Textural
    Dimensions:
    Height: 10 ft. 0 in. - 15 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 10 ft. 0 in. - 15 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Multi-stemmed
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    12-24 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Cream/Tan
    Fruit Type:
    Drupe
    Fruit Description:
    Each drupe 3/16" long flat light brown will contain a single seed.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    > 6 inches
    Flower Description:
    Feathery flower plumes are large give the appearance of smoke. Individual flowers are 1/8" with 5 greenish white.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Obovate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The rounded leaves produce a beautiful fall showing in multiple colors.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Black
    Dark Gray
    Bark Description:
    Gray to black bark
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Naturalized Area
    Patio
    Slope/Bank
    Small Space
    Landscape Theme:
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Native Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Flowering Tree
    Hedge
    Screen/Privacy
    Small groups
    Small Tree
    Specimen
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Dry Soil