Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cotinus - Smoketree

A genus of 3 species, that is related to the Sumacs. They prefer full sun or partial shade and just about any fertile, well drained soil.
Very easy to grow; they are virtually immune to insect pests and disease. Propagation is from seed sown in autumn which germinate best if soaked for 30 minutes in warm water before sowing. Cultivars can be propagated from hardwood cuttings taken in late summer.

Cotinus coggrygia ( European Smokebush )
A fast growing, large shrub or small treee native from southern Europe to central China that reaches around 25 feet. Some records include: fastest recorded growth rate - 8 feet; 12 years - 25 x 23 feet with a trunk diameter of 1.1 feet; largest on record - 50 x 30 feet with a trunk diameter of 1.6 feet. Many outstanding European Smokebush can be found in the mild microclimate near the Lake Huron shoreline in Huron and Bruce Counties in Ontario.
The broadly-oval leaves are up to 4 x 2.3 inches in size. The deep green foliage turns to scarlet-red during autumn.
This tree abundant plume like panicles up to 9 inches in length, are composed of tiny bronze-pink flowers that turn gray-purple during the summer.
Hardy zones 3 to 8 ( acting like a perennial or cut back shrub in 3 and 4 ); is very drought tolerant and moderately salt tolerant. Pest and disease problems seldom occur. Old tired plants can be cut back to near ground level during early spring for renovation. Alternatively, they can also be limbed up and trained as a tree.

* photos taken on May 16 2010 @ Cylburn Arboretum, Baltimore, MD


* photo taken on August 3 2010 @ University of Guelph Arboretum, Ontario

* photo of unknown internet source

* photos taken on Aug 2 2012 in Bayfield, Ontario

* photo taken on May 21 2014 in Towson, MD

* photos taken on July 25 2015 @ Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

* photo taken on July 14 2016 in Tobermory, ON

* photos taken on Aug 12 2016 in Howard Co., MD

* historic archive photos

* photos taken on Jul 18 2017 @ Dominion Arboretum, Ottawa, ON


'Black Velvet'
* photos taken on Apr 23 2017 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD


'Daydream'
A smaller green-leafed form, that is dense in habit, reaching up to 16 x 15 ( rarely over 10 ) feet in 20 years; eventually to 18 feet.
The foliage often turns to intense orange-red during autumn.
The fluffy flowers are creamy-white to pinkish-white.

* photos taken on July 25 2015 @ Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario


'Flame'
Luxuriant deep green foliage turns brilliant orange to scarlet-red in autumn.
The showy flower plumes are pinkish-purple.

'Nordine'
Similar to the species, with green foliage that colors exceptionally intense deep-red in fall. Hardy north to zone 3a, even in Estevan, Saskatchewan.

'Golden Spirit'
Slower growing, to 7 feet in 4 years, 9 x 8 ( avg ) feet in 10 years; eventually up to 15 x 15 feet unless used as a cut back shrub.
The foliage is golden-yellow all summer before turning intense orange-red during autumn.
Looks great plants in combination with purple leaved Smokebush.
Unless drought conditions prevail, this awesome cultivar does not scorch in full sun unlike many other variegated plants.
Hardy zone 5 to 8

* photo taken on May 6 2010 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD

* photo taken on June 4 2010 in Stratford, Ontario

* photo taken on Aug 25 2011 @ Scott Arboretum, Swarthmore College, PA

* photos taken @ U.S. Botanical Garden, Wash., DC on Aug 25 2014

* photo taken by Milan Havlis, owner of central Europe's premier plant nursery


'Notcutt's Purple'
Foliage is deep red-purple turning to scarlet red in autumn.
The smoky flower plumes are pinkish purple in color.

* photo taken on Aug 3 2012 in London, Ontario

* photo taken on Nov 6 2013 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on June 15 2014 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on July 27 2015 @ Bayfield, Ontario


'Pink Champaigne'
Hardier, usually not suffering winter dieback in zone 4.
The foliage is bronze at first, turning to blue-green.

'Royal Purple'
Deep wine-purple foliage that turns to red in autumn.
Some records include: largest on record - 30 x 20 ( typically closer to 15 ) feet.
Hardy north to zone 4 ( zone 3 as a perennial )

* photo taken on July 2008 in Wilkes-Barre, PA

* photo taken on April 23 2010 in Ellicott City, MD

* photos taken on May 1 2010 @ National Arboretum, D.C.



* photo taken on 4th of July 2010 in Washington, D.C.

* photos taken on May 16 2011 in Washington, D.C.


* photo taken on Nov 10 2014 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on July 8 2015 in Ellicott City, MD

* photos taken on July 25 2015 @ Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

* photos taken on Aug 11 2015 in Columbia, MD

* 9 feet of new growth on Royal Purple Smokebush

* photos taken on Nov 29 2016 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Apr 23 2017 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD

* photos taken on June 15 2017 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on July 7 2017 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Jul 17 2017 in Ottawa, ON

* photos taken on Aug 5 2017 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD

* photo taken on Oct 3 2017 in Columbia, MD


'Young Lady'
Slower growing, reaching up to 15 x 15 feet in 10 years, this large shrub is absolutely covered by terminal clusters of smokey light pink blooms.
The foliage is deep blue-green turning intense orange-red in autumn.
Hardy zones 5 to 8

* photos taken on June 22 2014 in Howard Co., MD


Cotinus 'Dusky Maiden'
A dense, rounded, large, deciduous shrub that is the hybrid between Cotinus szechuanensis & C. coggygria 'Velvet Cloak'. It reaches up to 8 x 8 feet in 5 years, possibly double that or larger when full grown.
The wavy-edged, rounded leaves, up to 2.5 x 2 inches in size, are reddish-purple ( veined red ).
The dense but small flower clusters are borne during early summer.
Hardy zones 6 to 8 ( estimate but may prove hardier with further testing ).

Cotinus 'Grace'
A fast growing hybrid between Cotinus coggygria 'Velvet Cloak' and Cotinus obovatus, which becomes a small tree up to 25 feet. Some records include: fastest recorded growth rate - 8 feet; 4 years - 13 feet; 10 years - 20 feet; largest on record - 65 x 57 feet with a diameter of 3 feet.
The bold, tropical looking foliage is up to 6 x 6 inches in size. The leaves are, glowing red-purple during spring, turning to blue-green during summer then to scarlet-red in autumn.
The smoky grayish, massive flower plumes up to 14 x 11 inches lend a hazy effect.
Hardy zones 4 to 9

* photo taken on June 23 2013 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

* photos taken on Aug 15 2014 @ Druid Hill Park, Baltimore, MD

* photos taken on July 25 2015 @ Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

* photo taken on Aug 12 2016 in Howard Co., MD


Cotinus nana ( Dwarf Smoketree )
A dense, rounded, small, deciduous shrub, reaching up to 5 feet, that is native to dry hillside grasslands in Yunnan Province in western China. It is endangered with extinction however has great potential as a landscape plant, esp if a red leaf form appears making a possible barberry substitute.
The ovate to rounded, leathery leaves, up to 1.5 inches in length, are mid-green.
The flowers are borne on dense but short panicles during mid-summer.
It is likely hardy zones 5 to 8 ( more testing is needed ) in full sun on dry to very well drained soil.

Cotinus obovatus ( American Smoketree )
A very fast growing broadly conical, dense canopied, very rare small tree native to central and southern U.S., reaching up to 30 feet. The American Smoketree's native range includes Oklahoma to Tennessee, south to central Texas to Alabama. Some records include: fastest recorded growth rate - 6 feet; 7 years - 20 feet; 20 years - 40 x 33 feet; largest on record - 65 x 57 feet with a trunk diameter of 4 feet. Very large trees are recorded at Perdue University @ West Lafayette, IN & in Hamilton Co., Ohio.
The smooth edged leaves are oval to round, up to 5 x 3.5 or rarely 7 x 5 inches, borne on stalks up to 3 inches. The foliage is bronze at first in spring, turning smooth and
blue-green above, silvery below then turning glowing scarlet orange and red late in autumn.
The "smoke-like' conical flower panicles up to 12 inches in length are borne at the ends of the shoots in May.
The fruits are a dry, oblong, brown drupe up to 0.3 inches in length, borne in clusters.
The silvery bark is scaly.
Hardy zones 3 to 8. Thrives on both alkaline and acidic soil and is very rarely bothered by insect pests or disease. It is very drought tolerant. If a young tree grows awkward, cut it to the ground and it will repsrout vigorously.
The American Smoketree will resprout vigorously if cut back. Small trees should be trained to a single leader.

* photo taken on August 2010 in Wilkes-Barre, PA

* photo taken on April 11 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum

* photo taken on May 1 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.

* photo taken on June 6 2010 in Baltimore County, MD

* photos taken on June 5 2013 in Ellicott City, MD

* photo taken @ U.S. Botanical Garden, Wash., DC on Aug 25 2014

* photo taken on Mar 18 2017 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD

* photos taken on Aug 24 2017 @ U.S. Botanic Garden, Wash. DC.

* USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

* historic archive photo


Cotinus szechuanenensis
A deciduous shrub, reaching up to 6.5 x 5 feet in 5 years, eventually a maximum height of 17 feet; that is native to northwest Sichuan Province in China.
The papery, wavy-edged, rounded leaves, up to 2.3 x 2 inches in size, are purplish-red at first, turning to blue-green.
The leafstalks and leaf margins are often red.
The flowers are borne during late spring.
The young stems are reddish.
Hardy zones 6 to 8 in full sun on well drained soil. It is very heat and drought tolerant.

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