Smoke Tree

By: C. Colston Burrell


Smoke tree, a tall shrub from Europe and Asia, is multistemmed and deciduous with an open, spreading form. The smooth, satiny leaves are nearly round and are blue-green in color in the species, purple in some varieties. The flowers are borne in large, long-lasting, fawn-colored, feathery inflorescences, appearing in summer and lasting through fall. Purple-leaved forms have purple inflorescences. It can grow 15 or more feet tall but is easily pruned to a smaller size.


: Full sun is best, especially for the purple-leaved varieties. The smoke tree tolerates just about any soil. Pruning this shrub is a compromise between two goals: obtaining dense foliage growth (with heavy annual pruning) or stimulating abundant flowering (since blooms only appear on wood three years old).

: The smoke tree is good for shrub borders and mass plantings. The varieties with colorful foliage make nice accent plants.

Smoke tree related varieties: Many purple-leaved varieties exist. Royal Purple is a particularly choice specimen.

Scientific name of smoke tree: Cotinus Coggygria


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