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Zones 2-24, 29-41
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Cotinus

Smoke Tree
Anacardiaceae
Deciduous, Shrubs, Trees

Unusual and colorful shrub-trees creating a broad, urn-shaped mass usually as wide as high. Naturally multistemmed, but can be trained to a single trunk. Common name is derived from dramatic puffs of “smoke” from fading flowers: as the tiny greenish blooms wither, they send out elongated stalks clothed in a profusion of fuzzy lavender-pink hairs.

Plants are at their best under stress in poor or rocky soil. In cultivated gardens, give them fast drainage and avoid overly wet conditions. Resistant to oak root fungus.

Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’
Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’

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Cotinus coggygria

Native from southern Europe to central China. Typically 12–15 ft. high and wide, though it may eventually reach 25 ft. The roundish, 1 1/2–3-in. leaves are bluish green in the species, but purple-leafed types are more commonly grown.

Cotinus ‘Grace’

Hybrid between Cotinus coggygria and Cotinus obovatus. Grows to 15 ft. tall and wide, with blue-green foliage shaded purple; turns orange and purple-red in fall. Large deep pink puffs.

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