Up in Smoke

by Jon Hetman, Director of External Relations & Communications

June 24, 2015

smoketree, cotinus coggygria 'Daydream'

Up in Smoke

smoketree, cotinus coggygria 'Daydream'

‘Daydream’ smoketree bears many fluffy, smokelike inflorescences. Photo by Robert Mayer.

A haze of fluffy inflorescences now cloaks many of the smoketree (Cotinus) specimens at the Arboretum. The tiny flowers and subsequent lentil-sized seeds of smoketree are inconspicuous, but they’re held on large, multibranched panicles that are covered with fine hairs, resulting in the smokelike appearance of the inflorescences.

The showiest specimens include accessions of common smoketree (C. coggygria) and its cultivars, such as ‘Daydream’  (see two excellent specimens of ‘Daydream’, 749-78*A and B, at the summit of Bussey Hill). American smoketree (C. obovatus) has less profuse “smoke,” but it more than makes up in ornamental value with its outstanding orange to purple fall foliage. ‘Grace’, a hybrid cultivar of these two species, is also an excellent ornamental. Read all about Cotinus in this comprehensive Arnoldia article [pdf].

-Nancy Rose, editor of Arnoldia


Grace hybrid smoketree

‘Grace’ is a hybrid cultivar of common and American smoketrees. Photo by Robert Mayer.

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