Smoke-tree Cotinus coggygria
Family: Anacardiaceae (Cashew)
Branching: Alternate

This ornamental shrub is from Eurasia and derives its name from its wispy fruit clusters.  It is quite distinctive when in fruit, though the introduced Tamarisk can look similar (I don't have pictures yet of it).  The twigs and buds tend to be purplish, reminiscent of Mountain-holly, but Smoke-tree has multiple vein scars.  It's leaves are elliptical, smooth-edged, and somewhat leathery, like other plants in the Cashew family.  There is a species in this genus that is native to North America, but it grows only in a few scattered locations in the "mid-South".

Winter twig of Smoke-tree.

Another view of the winter twig

Lateral bud and leaf scar of Smoke-tree

Another lateral bud

Sometimes the tips of the branches die back, similar to New-Jersey Tea

Branchlets growing out of a central hub

A fruit cluster

A mature Smoke-tree

Mature bark

Another view of the bark of Smoke-tree

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copyright 2008 Josh Sayers
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