Cotinus obovatus

Cotinus obovatus syn. C. americanus, the American smoketree,[2] chittamwood or American smokewood, is a rare species of flowering plant in the genus Cotinus of the family Anacardiaceae, native to Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Alabama and Tennessee. It is a deciduous, conical shrub growing to 10 m (33 ft) tall by 8 m (26 ft) broad, with oval leaves up to 12 cm (5 in) long. It produces panicles of pink-grey flowers in summer, and its foliage turns a brilliant scarlet in autumn; considered by many to be the most intense fall color of any tree. The smokey effect derives from the clusters of hairs on the spent flower stalks.[3] It is highly sought after and cultivated in botanical gardens world wide.[4][5]

Cotinus obovatus
Habit of C. obovatus at Aarhus Botanical Gardens
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Anacardiaceae
Genus: Cotinus
C. obovatus
Binomial name
Cotinus obovatus
Cotinus obovatus range map 5.png
Natural range of Cotinus obovatus

The Latin specific epithet obovatus means "in the shape of an inverted egg", and refers to the broadly oval shape of the leaves. The heartwood is a bright yellow. The species may be facing extinction in the wild.


  1. ^ IUCN SSC Global Tree Specialist Group.; Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI). (2020). "Cotinus obovatus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2020: e.T152909726A152909728. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-1.RLTS.T152909726A152909728.en. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  2. ^ "Cotinus obovatus". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  3. ^ "Cotinus obovatus". Missouri Botanical Garden. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  4. ^ RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964.
  5. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Cotinus obovatus". Retrieved 20 July 2013.