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Cotinus obovatus Raf.

Cotinus americanus Nutt.

American smoketree

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassRosidaeRoses, legumes, proteas, dogwoods, hydrangeas, mistletoes, euphorbias, grapes, many more
OrderSapindalesIncludes citrus; maples, horse-chestnuts, lychees and rambutans; mangos and cashews; frankincense and myrrh; mahogany and neem
FamilyAnacardiaceaeCashew or sumac family

About plant names...

The American smoketree is a North American native.

Identification: American smoketree takes the form of a large shrub or small tree reaching 15-30' (4.6-9.1 m) in height, and about the same width. The bark is gray-brown in color, and flaky, and the sap has a strong odor. The wood is a deep orange-yellow color. Leaves are bluish-green, 2-5" (5-12 cm) long × 1-2½" (2.5-6.3 cm) wide. Leaves are yellow, orange, red, or purple in the fall. Flowers are panicles (groups) 6-10" (15-25 cm) long, composed of many long, thin reddish or purplish petioles (stems that support the flowers). Each petiole is tipped with green to greenish-white flowers. The flowers are inconspicuous, but the color of the petioles is visible from a distance as a smoky, purplish haze—thus the tree’s common name.

Cotinus obovatus (American smoketree)

By Sally and Andy Wasowski. Tarpley, Bandera County, TX. 5/1987.

Online References:

Cotinus obovatus at the University of Connecticut Plant Database

Cotinus obovatus at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Cotinus obovatus on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants

Cotinus obovatus at the Missouri Botanical Garden

Cotinus obovatus on the Texas AgriLife Extension Service and Texas A&M University, Texas A&M System

Cotinus obovatus on SEINet—the Southwest Environmental Information Network

Cotinus obovatus description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.

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Cotinus obovatus (American smoketree)

6/15/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA
≈ 3½ × 2½' (1.2 × 0.8 m)

Cotinus obovatus (American smoketree)

9/14/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA
≈ 10 × 15" (26 × 39 cm)

Cotinus obovatus (American smoketree)

9/14/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA
≈ 14 × 9" (35 × 23 cm)

Cotinus obovatus (American smoketree)

9/14/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA
≈ 17 × 12" (44 × 29 cm)

Cotinus obovatus (American smoketree)


Range: Zones 4-8:

About this map...