Cotinus obovatus - American Smoke Bush:
The American Smoke Tree/Bush is a beautiful native plant that isn't very well known these days. Often times, these plants come the a single stem, tree form, but they will multistem over time. This tree/shrub generally grows to around 15' in height, but does have the off chance of growing up to 30' in height and around a max 15' in diameter. This plant is known to thrive in tough soil conditions and neglect, therefore, it is drought tolerant. Rich soil, over-watering, and fertilizing can lead to a weak plant. The distinct name of Smoke Bush, is due to the up to 12" flowering clusters that it develops around April - May. Flower colors change from Pink - Yellow - Purple as they age. While the individual flowers themselves aren't very showy, these flowering clusters appear as ethereal clouds of smoke from a distance. After flowering, the plant sometimes produces berries on the pinkish stems to also give the smoky appearance. The simple leaf structure is elliptic with colors that range from blue-green above of new growth, to pale leaves below during the growing season. This deciduous shrub's leaves turn flaming oranges and reds in the autumn before falling off for the winter. Roots systems are shallow, finely branched, and fibrous, making this wonderful ornamental planting buildings as to not damage foundations or hardscapes!
Whether you're looking for a wonderful, standout ornamental planting or a deciduous privacy line, Cotinus obovatus - American Smoke Bush is an excellent choice!