February 4, 2023
Cotinus obovatus

Cotinus obovatus

Cotinus obovatus or American Smoke Tree is also known as Chittamwood, Texas Smoke Tree, Wild Smoke Tree, Smokebush, Cotinus americanus, or Smoke Tree. It is a large deciduous, multi-trunked tree. It has a resinous sap.

It is from the Anacardiaceae family of plants. American Smoke Tree is native to North America, in particular Oklahoma, Arkansas, Alabama, Missouri, Tennessee, and Texas. Cotinus obovatus grows to 10m or 33ft tall.

Cotinus obovatus
Cotinus obovatus, American Smoke Tree or Chittamwood

Cotinus obovatus flowers in the summer. Pink-grey flowers appear in panicles of 10in or 25cm. They develop into hairlike petioles that look like hazy smoke puffs. Sometimes it produces berry-like fruit.

The foliage is round to ovate, and pinnate. It is pinkish in spring changing to blue-green. In autumn the leaves turn orange, red, and purple.

Cotinus obovatus, American Smoke Tree
Cotinus obovatus or American Smoke Tree at Kew Garden in London, UK

Grow Cotinus obovatus in the sun. Plant it in average soil that is well-drained. It tolerates any types of soil, as longs as it is not soggy. It should therefore not be overwatered or over-fertilized. Once it is established, it is drought tolerant. Cotinus obovatus is generally disease-free and pest-free. Watch out for leaf spot, rust, and wilt.

Cotinus obovatus does not require pruning. Cut any diseased or damaged branches. Propagate Cotinus obovatus by root cuttings, semi-hardwood, or softwood cuttings. or by seeds. Seeds need stratification before sowing. Fallen seeds could usually take two springs before germinating. Historically, Cotinus obovatus was harvested to make orange and yellow dyes as it has deep yellow or orange heartwood.

Cotinus obovatus
Cotinus obovatus
Cotinus obovatus
Cotinus obovatus

Also read about Cotinus coggygria.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *