Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Cotinus coggygria

[Photo: Cotinus coggygria.]Cotinus coggygria, known in English as "smoke tree" or "smoke bush" and in French as arbres à perruques (literally "wig tree"), is a shrub or small tree native to Eurasia. Apparently it is closely related to sumacs (Rhus spp.).

I was interested to see this tree looking so smoky. When I was a kid my dad would order plants from this weird catalogue that had no photographs, just coloured illustrations labelled "artist's rendition" to excuse the fact that they often looked much nicer than the real thing. Among the many plants my dad got from this outfit was a smoke tree, which looked nothing like the picture. Yet here is a smoke tree that really does look like the illustration in that catalogue! Maybe the catalogue wasn't as dishonest as I had assumed, and the tree just was not happy in our garden.

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