Friday, January 5, 2018
The American Smoketree - Cotinus obovatus
The American Smoketree - Cotinus obovatus is a small tree that does not reach heights of more then 35 feet tall. Generally having a short trunk and a full crown with widely spaced branches. American Smoketree is used on a limited basis as an ornamental and is valued for it's distinctive smoky plumed flowers and dark red fall coloring. This rare specimen is found growing on rock bluffs and in limestone glades from eastern Tennessee and Northern Alabama west through Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.
Image Citation: Charles T. Bryson, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org
The leaves are alternate, egg shaped and are 2-6 inches long and 1 to 3 inches wide. The upper leaf surface is a dull green and the lower surface is lighter and hair covered. When crushed the leaves give off a distinctive mint odor. The pink flowers are in the form of hairy fluff that from a distance look to be puffs of smoke, giving the tree it's unique name. The bark is light gray to gray brown and thin, flaking and peeling up from the bottom edges.