En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
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

Non-native acacias for Washington State
January 03, 2006 - Hello! I have been unable to find any sources for the seed of Prairie Acacia, Acacia angustissima var hirta. Var angustissima, from tropical America, is in cultivation, but I think it is tender to col...
view the full question and answer

Organic means for ridding garden of stinging ants
April 18, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Pants, I have a butterfly garden that is filled with native plants the butterflies LOVE! However I have a colony of red ants that have moved in. I need to trim some of the more inva...
view the full question and answer

Planting iris rhizomes in Wisconsin
October 10, 2008 - I live in central WI and was given some iris bulbs (think they are called Rhizomes) and have no idea how to go about planting them. I am very new to planting so step by step instructions with good de...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Genista racemosa from Houston
June 17, 2012 - Read your info on Genista Racemosa. Doesn't address my problem of it not blooming this year. It's in full sun and growing well, about 30" tall & round. Bloomed last year. We're feeding with ba...
view the full question and answer

Thrips on non-native roses in Austin
June 11, 2009 - How can I get rid of thrips that have totally invaded all of my roses?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center