Botanical Name: Cotinus obovatus
Common Name: American Smoketree  
Plant photo of: Cotinus obovatus
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Water Saving Tip:

Apply as little fertilizer as possible.

If you use fertilizer make sure it stays on the landscape, and carefully water it in so there is NO runoff.

  • Anatomy

  • Culture

  • Design

Plant Type

Tree, Shrub


Height Range



Flower Color

Green, Yellow


Flower Season



Leaf Color

Blue Green


Bark Color

Brown, Grey


Fruit Color



Fruit Season






Very Low, Low


Growth Rate



Soil Type

Sandy, Clay, Loam, Rocky, Unparticular


Soil Condition

Average, Poor, Well-drained, Dry


Soil pH

Neutral, Basic


Adverse Factors


Design Styles

Mediterranean, Ranch


Accenting Features

Fall Color, Showy Flowers


Seasonal Interest

Summer, Fall


Location Uses

Background, Shrub Border, Foundation, Walls / Fences


Special Uses

Hedge, Screen


Attracts Wildlife


Information by: Stephanie Duer
  • Description

  • Notes

American smoketree is a moderate growing, upright large shrub or multi-stemmed small tree, growing about 15 to 25 feet tall and about half as wide. It gets its common name not from the flower clusters that bloom in June, but from the billowy hairs attached to spent flowers which turn a smoky pink to purplish pink in summer. Bluish green leaves are round to oval, and turns a variety of colors in the fall (including yellow, red, orange and reddish purple), and produces some of the best fall color of any of the native American trees and shrubs.
Grow in well-drained soil in full sun. Adaptable to wide range of soils, including poor rocky soils, but prefers well-drained, somewhat infertile loams. Pruning is necessary to maintain a tree-like canopy, but if you are using this in its more shubby habit, maintenance is minimal.