Cotinus coggygria

Accession Count: 3
Common Name: purple smoke tree
Family Name: Anacardiaceae
Botanical Name: Cotinus coggygria
Sub Species:
Cultivar: 'Purpureus'
Characteristics: This deciduous shrub has oblong purple leaves 1.5 to 3.5 inches long that fade to dark green in the summer and red, yellow and orange in the autumn (1,4). The height and width of a mature plant are both 12 to 15 feet (1,2,3). Its small flowers are on 6 to 8-inch-long and wide billowing, showy panicles (1).
Compound: Cot cog Pur
Geographic Origin: Southern Europe/Asia
Ecozone Origin: Palearctic
Biome Origin:
Natural History:
The Smoke tree is named because the it looks like billowing clouds of mauve-colored smoke when in bloom (2). It has many cultivars with varying shades of leaf color, which are a good addition for color contrast (1).
Cultivation Notes: Native to colder climates than Tucson (USDA zone 5-8), this plant generally grows in partial to full sun. However, in Tucson this plant appreciates afternoon shade and some extra water during spring when flower buds are setting. It is dioecious and is commonly sold as a male or female tree (3). For seed propagation,  it is recommended that seeds receive warm stratification treatment for 2-3 months, followed by a cold stratification. Even then, germination is slow and can often take 12 months (5).
The smoke tree has been used in traditional medicine and the yellow dye from its wood is used to tan hides (5). An essential oil can be extracted from its leaves that has a sweet mango-like smell (5).

Height: 11 - 15 feet
Width: 11 - 15 feet
Growth Rate: Moderate Growing
Grow Season:
Flower Season:
Color: Purple
Function: Screen
Spread: Non-spreading
Allergen: Non-allergenic
Invasive: Benign
Toxicity: Benign
Hardy: Hardy
Water Use: Moderate Water Use


(1) University of Connecticut Plant Database Retrieved 9/18/2019

(2) Missouri Botanical Gardens Retrieved 9/18/2019

(3) Cal Poly Urban Forests Ecosystems Institute Retrieved 9/18/2019

(4) US Department of Agriculture Retrieved 9/24/2019

(5) Plants For a Future Retrieved 9/24/2019


Cotinus coggygria