The smoketree is a large bushy shrub that grows to heights between 3 and 5 m and of which the inflorescences have a spectacular feathery aspect when mature, which is where it gets its name from.
Cotinus coggygria. © Gery Singer, Flickr CC by nc-sa 2.0
The smoketree (Cotinus coggygria) is a member of the Anacardiaceae family and is also called the "Eurasian smoketree" and the "purple smoke bush".
Botanical description of the smoketree
The structure of this tree is bushy, wide, irregular with gnarled and divergent branches. Its bark is yellow brown and tends to crack with age. Its deciduous foliage is purple or green, turning to yellow and then purple in autumn. From late June until late September, this tree produces pink or red flowers with sikly durable ball shaped panicles. In late summer its small dried fruit disperse on the inflorescences.
Leaves of the smoketree. © DancesWithFlowers, Flickr CC by nc-sa 2.0
The smoke tree comes from China, America and Southern Europe. In France, it particularly grows in the low mountains of the Southeast Alps and the Massif Central.
Growing conditions of the smoketree
This species grows well in warm, dry, preferably calcareous soil. It does not thrive in waterlogged land, where it can die. It requires sunlight.
The smoke tree is highly valued for its ornamental qualities.
Author: Michel Caron
The smoketree. © J.G in S.F, Flickr CC by nc-nd 2.0