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SmoketreeCotinus coggygria

  • Smoketree - Cotinus coggygria
  • Smoketree - Cotinus coggygria
  • Smoketree - Cotinus coggygria

Originating in the wooded hills above the Mediterranean, the smoketree holds true to its name. The species boasts blooms that are wispy clumps of filaments—either cream or pink—that look like puffs of smoke. This defining feature has earned it other nicknames including mist tree, cloud tree, wig tree and Jupiter’s beard. It also caused Minnesota garden writer Don Engebretson to proclaim it “one of the most arresting shrubs available to…gardeners today.”

This easy-to-grow specimen is a good choice for a shrub border or other grouping. It can either flourish as a multi-stemmed shrub, be pruned to a single-trunk tree or be cut back every year to maintain the look of a smaller bushy plant.

Hardiness Zones

The smoketree can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 5–8. View Map

Tree Type

This is an ornamental tree, typically planted for the visual interest and beauty it can bring to landscape.

Mature Size

The smoketree grows to a height of 10–15' and a spread of around 12' at maturity.

Growth Speed Medium Growth Rate

This tree grows at a medium rate, with height increases of 13–24" per year.

Sun Preference

Full sun is the ideal condition for this tree, meaning it should get at least 6 hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference

The smoketree adapts well to many soils—growing in acidic, alkaline, loamy, sandy, well-drained and clay soils. It has some drought tolerance and can withstand wet conditions.


This tree:
  • Produces flowers from June to September that are pink to yellow-pink and are not as notable as the hairs, which turn several shades of smoke-pink (particularly in late summer).
  • Features showy, blue-green leaves that range from 1¼–4" long, alternate on the branches and smell like orange peel when crushed.
  • Provides great fall color, with leaves turning yellow, red and purple in the fall.
  • Offers amazing visual interest in landscaping.
  • Yields clusters of small, dry, kidney-shaped fruit approximately 1/16" in diameter.
  • Grows in a rounded shape.

Wildlife Value

The leaves of the smoketree are browsed by deer and other big game.


The smoketree is a native of Eurasia and has long been a favorite shrub or small tree for garden plantings, along property lines and along the borders of landscaped areas. It was introduced into America as early as 1656 and was commonly available in nurseries by 1790. It is a species with many names including smokebush, European smoketree, cloud tree, wig tree, mist tree and Jupiter's beard.