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

Thursday - June 25, 2009

From: Canton, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Identification of red leaf tree with wispy, feathery plumes on top
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

I am looking for the name of a red leaf shrub/small tree that has feather like, wispy plumes which grow out of the top most branches. I do not have a photo. I live in Canton, MI.

ANSWER:

This sounds like smoketree, Cotinus sp.  There is a native species of smoketree, Cotinus obovatus (American smoketree) but its distribution doesn't include Michigan. However, according University of Connecticut Horticulture database, it is hardy to Zone 4 and most of Michigan is either Zone 4 or 5.  But, probably what you have seen in Michigan is Cotinus coggygria (European smoketree).  The distribution of the European smoketree in North America doesn't include Michigan either, but it can be found surrounding Michigan in Ontario, New York, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Here are some Michigan natives with attractive flowers and/or colorful autumn foliage that could serve as a substitute:

Amelanchier laevis (Allegheny serviceberry)

Cercis canadensis (eastern redbud)

Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)

Cornus sericea (redosier dogwood)

Crataegus phaenopyrum (Washington hawthorn)


Cotinus obovatus

Cotinus obovatus

Amelanchier laevis

Cercis canadensis

Cornus florida

Cornus florida

Cornus sericea

Cornus sericea

Crataegus phaenopyrum

 

 

More Trees Questions

Mexicana Redbud failing to bloom in Austin
April 12, 2010 - I have a Mexican Redbud that I bought last fall. It is now April (I'm in Austin), and the leaves have emerged, but the tree did not flower. So . . . what should I do to get it to flower? (The tree i...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on Diospyros virginiana
July 29, 2005 - Diospyros virginiana (common persimmon) is, from what I understand, a host plant for the stunning Luna Moth caterpillar which supposedly can occur this far west. Your database entry for Diospyros do...
view the full question and answer

Hedge for steep slope by sidewalk in Wisconsin
August 25, 2008 - I have a fairly steep slope from the sidewalk to my yard. The space is about 48" high, 30" deep and 120' long. I was thinking that a boxwood hedge would fill that space nicely but no one else aroun...
view the full question and answer

Possible disease on Eastern Redbud
October 06, 2007 - Our Eastern Redbud appears to be suffering from our recent drought. The leaves are turning brown in July/August on a few branches. A few black spots appear on the leaves before they turn brown. Ot...
view the full question and answer

Planting Texas Persimmon in enclosed planter from San Angelo TX
May 23, 2013 - I want to plant a Texas Persimmon (in West Texas) in an enclosed planter 4' X 4' X 2.5' deep. What would be a good planting medium. Does it need to be deeper?
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center