Cotinus obovatus

American smoketree add to wishlist

Plant types and subtypes: Trees & Shrubs, Shrubs, Trees, Shrub-like Trees, Deciduous

Light Requirements: sun, part-sun

Water Use: low

Soil Moisture: dry

Soil Description: neutral, alkaline, average, poor, loam, clay, sand

Height: 15'-30'

Bloom Time: April, May, June

Bloom Color: yellow, purple, pink, green

Leaf Color: green, blue-green

Hardiness Zone: 6, 7, 8

Additional Tags: fall interest, ornamental foliage, rock garden plant

Cotinus obovatus (American smoketree)
  • Cotinus obovatus (American smoketree)
  • Cotinus obovatus (American smoketree)
  • Cotinus obovatus (American smoketree)
  • Cotinus obovatus (American smoketree)

Pricing & Availability


Cotinus obovatus

Also known as:

American smoketree


smoke tree


Texas smoke tree



Scientific Synonyms:

Cotinus americanus


Cotinus obovatus is a small, multi-trunked deciduous tree, or large shrub that rarely grows taller than 30'. The leaves emerge tinged with shades of pink or purple, turning deep-green to blue-green as they mature. The tree produces clusters of yellowish flowers in mid-spring. These are somewhat unremarkable. Not so for the the pinkish, hairy plumes left by the spent flowers. These seem to envelop the entire tree in wispy pink smoke, hence the well deserved common name. It also produces one of the most spectacular fall foliage of the native trees and shrubs.


The American smoketree is very low maintenance and easy to grow in poor environments. Actually, rich soil soil can encourage rapid growth, leading to a weak tree. It tolerates rocky soil and is drought resistant. Do not over-water or over-fertilize. Plant in full to part-sun. Blooms in April to May. Zones 6-8


Easily propagated by softwood, semi-hardwood, root cuttings, or by layering. Can be propagated from seed, but the yield of fertile seeds is low. they may also take two years to germinate.

Additional Notes

This a species that thrives under adverse conditions and tough love. Over-watering and over-fertilizing are its two true enemies.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:

USDA Endangered Status:

  • Special Concern: TN


Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons
Subclass Rosidae
Order Sapindales
Family Anacardiaceae Sumac family
Genus Cotinus smoketree
Species Cotinus obovatus American smoketree