American Smoke Tree (Cotinus obovatus)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up American Smoke Tree
Give a thumbs up Chittamwood
Give a thumbs up Wild Smoke Tree
Give a thumbs up Yellow Wood
Give a thumbs up Texas Smoke Tree

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Shrub
Tree
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Water Preferences: Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Slightly alkaline (7.4 – 7.8)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 4a -34.4 °C (-30 °F) to -31.7 °C (-25 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 8b
Plant Height: 20-30 feet
Plant Spread: 20-30 feet
Leaves: Good fall color
Deciduous
Fruit: Other: tiny red berries sparsely produced
Fruiting Time: Late summer or early fall
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: Green
Other: Yellowish-green
Flower Time: Late spring or early summer
Uses: Flowering Tree
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Rabbit Resistant
Drought tolerant
Propagation: Seeds: Self fertile
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil
Dioecious

Smoke tree started from a seedling

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Comments:
Posted by Sharon (Calvert City, KY - Zone 7a) on Sep 25, 2011 8:59 PM

The blooms appear in early summer and have a faint hint of pink. The pink lasts for weeks and then it fades leaving the smoky look until fall. The foliage is glossy dark green, with a leather-like texture. It is a slow grower and doesn't get very tall.

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Posted by LindaTX8 (Medina Co., TX - Zone 8a) on Nov 22, 2011 4:19 PM

This tree has grown more slowly than most trees around here. And of course, it's a fairly small tree even when mature. Love the blooming tree, also the fall color is nice in fall.

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Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Nov 29, 2017 4:41 PM

The American Smoketree was found in the wild in only three spots in the South. The biggest area is north Arkansas & southcentral Missouri & northeast Oklahoma, a spot in southcentral Texas, and a spot in northeast Alabama and a little over into Tennessee. I've never seen this native species grown in the average landscape or yard in the Midwest or Mid-Atlantic or Northeast Regions of the US. I've only seen it so far in arboretums. The Common Smoketree from Eurasia is occasionally grown in northern Landscapes and yards and sold in large, diverse nurseries, especially the cultivars with purple foliage. The American Smoketree is also called a "Smokebush" as it can be either a large shrub or a small tree, usually multi-trunked. The leaves are 2 to 5 inches long and are bluish-green and develop an intense bright fall color from yellow to orange to red to purple-red or a combination. This American species does not have any cultivars with red-purple leaves all season long like the Eurasian. The real flowers of Smoketrees are tiny and yellowish; it is the long hairs around the flower clusters that gives the show in June and/or July. The male plants of Smoketrees have a slightly more showy display than the female plants. The fruit is a small red berry that is normally sparsely produced in August-September and the flowering hairs are also still present. This species grows about 6 to 12 inches/year and lives less than 100 years. Its root system is fibrous and shallow and it transplants readily in early spring into balled & burlapped. There is a cultivar called 'Northstar' or 'Cotton Candy' that has pink "smoke" and may be hardy to Zone 3.

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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Smoke Tree: Textural effect by Sharon Sep 29, 2011 6:01 PM 0
Tree with pink "fluff" by SleepyWhippet Jun 23, 2018 11:50 PM 4
Need help by nella2012 Jun 5, 2018 11:56 PM 3
California plant by dwidjaj Nov 18, 2016 5:17 PM 3
Need small trees for small backyard by WSheryl May 9, 2016 1:35 PM 3
looking for tree recommendations by blueeyes Mar 6, 2016 8:19 PM 32
Tree in MN by Anderwood Oct 6, 2015 12:49 PM 13

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