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Cotinus coggygria

Pronunciation: Koe-tye-nus koe-guy-gree-uh
Family: Anacardiaceae (cashew family
Common Name: Smoketree, smoke bush, venetian sumac, european smoketree, fustet, hungarian fustic
Plant Type:
  • trees, shrubs
Height to: 15'
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • -10 to -20ºF ZONE 5
  • 0 to -10ºF ZONE 6
  • 10 to 0ºF ZONE 7
  • 20 to 10ºF ZONE 8
Sun Exposure:
  • part sun
  • full sun
Bloom Description: The actual flowers are inconspicuous little yellowish green blossoms that appear in early summer, but the long pinkish filaments on the stems of the bloom clusters create a striking cloudlike effect through the summer. The fruits are tiny kidney shaped brown berries.
Plant Perks:
  • Medicinal
  • Fall Foliage
  • Cut Flower
  • Drought Tolerant
Propagation: Both male and female plants are required for seed production. Sow fresh seeds in a coldframe as soon as they are ripe in the fall. "green" seeds that are fully developed, but not yet dry and hard, germinate most readily; they can be expected to sprout in the spring. Seeds can be stored for several years. Stored seeds should be warm stratified for 2-3 months at 60f (15. 5c), then cold stratified for 2-3 more months. It may take them a year to germinate at 60f (15. 5c). Smoketree can be propagated from cuttings, but some cultivars are notoriously hard to root.
Native to: Smoketree comes from southern europe, central china, and the himalayas, where it grows on dry rocky hillsides and in open woods, usually on limestone.
Notes for Identification: Source: floridata - smoketree is most often employed for color accent or contrast, but it can also be used as a featured specimen plant or blended with other species in a shrub border. Infusions have been used as a gargle and to stop bleeding, as well as in tanning and dyeing. Both flowers and foliage are excellent for exotic effects in floral arrangements. Intense color is this plant's most outstanding feature. The purple-leaved varieties can be used to form a dramatic dark backdrop for summer's bright flowers and bright green foliage. Then, as the flowers fade in the fall, the smokebush will take over and light up the landscape with brilliant fall color. The unique billowing cloudlike appearance of the flowering shrub can be used for fantasy effects. All this drama can be possible even if all you have to offer is a dry gravelly soil where it is hard to get anything else to perform well. This species was popular in victorian gardens and is thus suitable for many garden restoration projects. The flowers attract bees. Care: smoketree prefers a moderately fertile loam, but it tolerates a broad ph range and adapts well to a variety of soils ranging from light sands to heavy red clays. It will grow on hot, dry, gravelly soils, but is short lived on rich sites. Pruning promotes intense foliage color. Since smoketree flowers on new growth, it can be cut to the ground each winter and grown as a cutback shrub. This treatment yields spectacular growth with heavy flowering and dramatic foliage color on a cluster of 3-5 ft (0. 9-1. 5 m) shoots. Alternatively, older shrubs can be limbed up to create attractive small trees. Smoketree may be affected by rusts, leafspot, verticillium wilt, or san jose scale, but it is notably resistant to honey fungus. The purple leaved cultivars are susceptible to mildew. Excessive misting should be avoided. Sun brings out the best leaf color, but smoketree will tolerate light shade. Smoketree prefers well-drained moist to dry soil. It will grow on damp sites, but is prone to root rot in such situations. Deep infrequent watering is ideal.
Located in: Trees, Shrubs
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