Cotinus obovatus
Common name: 
American Smoketree
Chittamwood
Pronunciation: 
ko-TI-nus ob-oh-VA-tus
Family: 
Anacardiaceae
Genus: 
Type: 
Broadleaf
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
No
  • Broadleaf deciduous shrub/tree, usually 20-30(50) ft [6-9(15) m], similar width, upright, oval-rounded to round-headed.  Leaves alternate, simple, obovate to elliptic-obovate, 5-13 cm long, rounded to emarginate (slight notch) at apex, wedge-shaped at base (cuneate), bluish to dark green; fall foliage is yellow, orange, amber, and red-purple.  Flowers male and female flowers occur on separate trees (i.e., dioecious), flower clusters 15-25 cm long, more or less inconspicuous pale purplish or brownish hairs on sterile flower stalks; reportedly the bloom of male trees in showiest.  Fruit few produced, oblong, flat, 5 mm long, pale brown, dry, 1-seeded; scattered in large branched clusters to 20 cm long; maturing in summer.
  • Sun, does well on poor soil and reportedly has minimal insect and disease problems.  Grown for its colorful fall foliage.
  • Hardy to USDA Zone 4   Native to rocky, usually mountain soils from Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, and northern Alabama west to Oklahoma, with disjunct populations in a few counties of central Texas.
  • A few cultivars: ‘Red Leaf’ has consistent brilliant fall color.  ‘Grace’ is the result of a cross between C. coggygria ‘Velvet Cloak’ and a male C. obovatus, it is a tall shrub with purplish-red leaves, turning scarlet in the fall.
  • obovatus: obovate, widest above the middle, refers to the leaves.
  • Oregon State Univ. campus: west side of Benton Hall
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  • plant habit, spring flowering shrub

    plant habit, spring flowering shrub

  • young flower clusters and leaves

    young flower clusters and leaves

  • flower clusters

    flower clusters

  • plant habit, trees

    plant habit, trees

  • leaves and remnant flower clusters

    leaves and remnant flower clusters

  • leaves and remnant flower cluster

    leaves and remnant flower cluster

  • plant habit, fall

    plant habit, fall

  • plant habit, fall

    plant habit, fall

  • leaves, fall

    leaves, fall

  • trunk, bark

    trunk, bark

  • plant habit, winter

    plant habit, winter

  • winter twigs and buds

    winter twigs and buds