Magnificent green smoketree - is this usual?

woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)June 12, 2010

On Wednesday we were in Toronto, parked on aside street near where we were going - and found ourselves parked next to the most magnificent green smoketree I have ever seen! Actually, I think it's the first time I've seen a green one. Most of the ones I've seen have been purple, and shrubs rather than trees. Friday we were in Toronto again and I went prepared - I got 4 cuttings off the tree! I'm doubtful that they will root though because I only had softwood rooting hormone and the shoots were already quite woody. But I can hope....

My questions are:

- Is this sort of size usual for a green smoketree? I've done some searching and can't seem to find anything of comparable size.

- Any guess on age or variety of this tree?

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Nice example of typical Cotinus coggygria. Reported 40' tall in nature. Out here in WA state we have recorded them 35' x 3'7" x 35' (Walla Walla, 1993) and 30' x 4'7" x 35' (Spokane, 1988).

    Bookmark   June 12, 2010 at 10:55PM
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schoolhouse_gw

I used to have one of these in my formal garden 20yrs ago, a small one at the time of course. A curious thing about this tree, if you broke even a small leafy branch it would react by wilting! Then it came back to life a couple weeks later, in fact it did this wilting thing sometimes when not disturbed at least once a season. (varmints chewing on roots?) A wind storm broke it when it was 5yrs.old and appx. 10' high, loved it's wonderful shape, bloom and scent.

I have never found another green smoke tree since, I'm so delighted to see this photo!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 12:07PM
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calliope(6)

Years ago, the common green ones were the only kind you'd ever see. I have both green and the purple and my green ones are by far larger..but to be honest the only remaining mature one has been there at least thirty years, because it was started from a seedling off my MIL's tree before I married my husband. We are finally getting seedlings off our smoke trees and I wondered why hers had viable offspring and ours didn't. I finally found out they are dioecious. I remember way back when the GW was in its infancy I put forth that as a possibility and got flamed for the first time. LOL.

My green one is in poofy bloom now and lovely. It is not quite that large, but still impressive. Good luck.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 12:08PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Phillips.Rix, THE BOTANICAL GARDEN - VOLUME 1 (Firefly) says "the male and female flowers are sometimes on different plants". So it would follow then that most specimens are monoecious.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 4:39PM
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calliope(6)

Nine sources out of ten will list smoke tree as dioecious. But the confusion arises out of which 'smoke tree' you have. Cotinous obovatus is definitely dioecious. Cotinous coggygria is primarily monoceious or sometimes polygamous. I would call the tree in his picture a tree and not a shrub. I'd put my money on that tree being cotinus obovatus, just like mine is. It's arboreal and a native species. They can be pretty big honkers. Sorry bboy, I figured you'd correct me, but I think we are talking about two different things here.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 5:59PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

calliope - I'm a 'she' not a 'he'... :-) I did a search on cotinus obovatus looking for information on reputable sites (i.e. used the site:.edu search qualifier) and I'm not sure which it is... Will this help identify it - it's a scan of a leaf from one of the cuttings we took. The leaf measures 2 1/4" wide x 2 3/4" long:

The stem the leaf is from is not green but not fully woody yet either, so presumably the leaves might get a bit bigger?

I like the sounds of the Cotinus obovatus so, if that's not what this is, at least I know what to look for!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 7:47PM
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calliope(6)

Cotinus obovatus has the most spectacular fall show you'd ever want to see. Glorious red/gold on ours. I really can't tell from the leaf what you have. It strikes me as a coggyria, but the leaves on obovatus are somewhat variable in size and shape depending on the individual tree. They will hybridise with other cotinus as well and some nursery specimens are hybrids between the two. I am positive the seedling volunteers we are getting now are hybrids, because we lost the second obovatus and I have only planted coggygria since then. We never had seedlings in twenty years from the original two obovatus until I planted the coggygria. We got the original pair from my MIL, who had many obovata on her property and they threw volunteers with abandon.

Ovovatus are not common in the trade, so it's not something I'd say to take to your local nursery for an identification....but a local arboretum would know for sure, or whether they suspect it a hybrid. Actually if the tree is located in Canada, I'd further suspect obovatus, as it is hardier than coggygria.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 9:39PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Whether the have the sex thing right or not, species discussed by Phillips/Rix European smoketree. Tree asked about is European smoketree. Inflorescences of the
American species do not form the same smoke-like appearance, not does it have the same branching habit as specimen shown.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 1:24AM
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gardengal48

My vote is with Cotinus obovatus as well, based both on the size and form of the tree, as well as location - the native smoketree is a hardier species than the Asian species and grows to a much larger size......it seems a bit of stretch for C. coggygria to achieve that impressive size in a marginally hardy location. And the leaf form certainly fits.

As to the American smoketree not producing similar 'smoke'-like flowering attributes, I'd suggest one look a bit closer -- they most definitely do.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cotinus obovatus

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 9:35AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

I hope at least one of my cuttings root - I WANT that tree!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 10:11AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

"A. Lvs. prevailingly oval, 1-3 in. long: fruiting panicles very showy...C. coggygria

AA. Lvs. prevalingly obovate, 2 1/2-5 in. long: fruiting panicles not showy...C. americanus"

--Liberty H. Bailey, 1949, Manual of Cultivated Plants - Revised Edition

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 12:13PM
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calliope(6)

Obovatus flowers are sufficiently showy to know they are smoke trees, regardless of what Mr. Rix says. The smoke can still be quite impressive after blooming.

It helps to have actually seen these side by side, because it relieves the paradigms of what the author sees, writes and how the reader interprets.

Note on the photos of obovatus in the link, how very round those leaves appear. Like I said there is a lot of variation, and also who's to say what the poster has isn't a hybrid? They will gladly procreate with the Eurasian species.

There are also differences in twig and bark and you can look in spring to see what sex the flowers are. It bears following up, if you like that particular tree. BTW, time to do cuttings is summer, before the wood on the tips harden. Good Luck.

Here is a link that might be useful: Virginia Tech photos obovatus

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 3:26PM
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dabarrs4_comcast_net

I Planted a smoke tree last year. doesn't seem to have made it what time should I see growth? My husband wants to replace it but I want to make sure there still isn't a chance it might pull trough.

Thanks

    Bookmark   February 15, 2011 at 2:35PM
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gardengal48

Smokebush (Cotinus coggygria) is rather late to bud and leaf out. I would be very surprised to see any sign of new growth for the season - in my area, anyway - much before the end of March or early April. And it doesn't really leaf out fully until even later - late April/early May. Might push that up a bit earlier in warmer zones, though :-)

I've not personally grown smoketree (C. obovatus), so can't say for sure if it follows a similar pattern.

I'd be patient -- there's still lots of time for the shrub to come back to life!!

    Bookmark   February 15, 2011 at 3:11PM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

I would have to be a real collector to buy one of the green varieties. I much prefer the purple. Combined with a Firebush, the result can be really nice. After all, where there's smoke, there's fire. The conifers set off the composition, as does the Manzanita in the lower left.
Over all, it's a bit dense, but so am I. ;-)
Mike

Picture taken Nov. 9th, 2009.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 8:10AM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

A smoketree and a burning bush...nice! Or are we talking firebush the tropical?

I plan to add Cotinus 'Grace' this spring...sounds like you get the best of both worlds?

    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 3:49PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Great composition, Mike!

Josh

    Bookmark   February 20, 2011 at 2:33PM
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billinghurst_att_net

would love to have a green smoke, seen them in Leslie MI But where do you buy them?

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 5:20PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

For offerings of both typical green European smokebush and a green European smokebush cultivar...

Here is a link that might be useful: Find Plants at ForestFarm

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 12:24PM
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ademink(z5a-5b Indianapolis)

mike...is that your yard?!?!?!?!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 10:21PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

leslie is just north of gee tree farm near stockbridge MI ...

call them and see if they have it among their 50 million plants ...

its a great day trip.. with a 10 acre arboretum ...

ken

Here is a link that might be useful: forget about the online catalog ... call them ...

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 3:39PM
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ademink(z5a-5b Indianapolis)

gee....

i'm dying b/c they have the maple i want...but won't ship it. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, SATISFY MY ADDICTION! lol

i'm only a state away. *sigh*

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 11:20PM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

Ademink, yes. I have been planting things in my yard since 1978. In many places things are a bit crowded.
See link below.
Mike

Here is a link that might be useful: My yard

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 12:54AM
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ademink(z5a-5b Indianapolis)

that's unreal! truly that is like heaven (Seattle-ish...close to it when it comes to conifers, eh? lol)!!!! your backyard...the view from the lower yard - WOW!!!!!!!! and you look happy as can be :)

That is a masterpiece - such a natural looking incredible canvas!!!!!

Can you tell me when your various columnar conifers are that are prominent/more in the foreground in the pic above? I think that the gold one is maybe some sort of monster Cham. obtusa 'Aurea'.....?

i'm lost after that lol

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 9:02AM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

Yes, that's a C. obtusa gracilis. 'Nana'. The rest are dwarf green varieties and some Cryptomeria j. 'Tansu'. They are pruned to be almost unrecognizable.

Check out this weird pattern on my purple Smoke Tree. It's not all that uncommon.


Mike

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 7:42AM
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j0nd03

Did any of your cuttings root?

    Bookmark   January 3, 2012 at 1:32PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Note that the conifer cultivar name is correctly fashioned 'Nana Gracilis'.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2012 at 2:39PM
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