Cotinus is from Greek and refers to the wild olive; obovatus is Latin and means “egg- shaped,” in reference to the shape of the leaves of the tree. The name refers to the smoky appearance of the tree when it is flowering. Other names include chittamwood. American Smoketree is a deciduous small tree or large shrub. Trees typically grow 20 to 30 ft. tall with an equal spread. Trees are upright, occasionally multi-trunked and have a rounded shape. Leaves are nearly round and average 4 inches long and fragrant when crushed. Leaves are dark blue-green in summer. Smoketree is related to sumacs (Rhus) and is one of the few trees that equal their autumn color. Fall color is vibrant yellow, orange and reddish-purple.
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