Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - May 08, 2009

From: Ogden, UT
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Will a non-native smoke tree, Cotinus coggygria, be harmful in Utah
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Can one plant a smoke tree in Utah without causing and harm to the environment? I'm worried that this plant may be a species that could cause a problem since I believe it is not a native plant.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants supposes you are talking about Cotinus coggygria (common smoketree), which is native to Eurasia, and not Psorothamnus spinosus (smoketree), which is native to the Sonoran Desert in your neighbor states of California, Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico; or Cotinus obovatus (American smoketree), native to Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.  Since what we're all about here at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is "to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes", we wouldn't recommend planting a non-native tree.  However, the Eurasian smoketree (C. coggygria) doesn't appear on any invasive lists as far as I have been able to find and probably doesn't pose a real threat to the environment.  The American smoketree (C. obovatus) isn't native to Utah, but it is native to the US as far west as eastern Texas.  It will grow in USDA Hardiness Zones 4-8 and might do fine in Ogden, but we wouldn't even recommend planting a native tree so far out of its native range.  Your best bet for a successful tree is one that is native to your area.  Here are a few of similar size to the Eurasian smoketree that occur in or adjacent to Weber County, Utah.

Amelanchier utahensis (Utah serviceberry)

Cornus sericea ssp. sericea (redosier dogwood)

Maclura pomifera (osage orange)

Prunus americana (American plum)

Ptelea trifoliata (common hoptree)

Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac)

Sambucus racemosa (red elderberry)


Amelanchier utahensis

Cornus sericea ssp. sericea

Maclura pomifera

Prunus americana

Ptelea trifoliata

Rhus typhina

Sambucus racemosa

 

 

 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Problems in non- native weeping willow in Spokane WA
June 21, 2010 - My wife and I have a weeping willow tree that has done well for two years. This year some of the branches are loosing their leaves in late spring in Spokane, WA. I though it was from the wind but ha...
view the full question and answer

Care for non-native Desert Rose (Adenium obesum)
August 08, 2006 - I was given a desert rose and i'm looking for general information about planting, watering, how much sun it needs etc. I hope you can help. Thanks
view the full question and answer

Identification of tree in California
May 02, 2012 - A medium-size tree with shiny green leaves toward the bottom and garnet red ones toward the top of the tree. The leaves are narrow with saw-toothed edges. There are clustered small white flowers with ...
view the full question and answer

Mowing wildflower concerns from Lockhart TX
March 30, 2012 - I went to the Texas Highway Department (Texas Department of Transportation) web site and sent them a concern or complaint about them or independent contractors shredding the roadsides before the blueb...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting honeysuckle bush in Illinois
April 18, 2009 - Want to transplant 3 honeysuckle shrubs 10 to 12' tall this month, although not the best time. Please advise.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.