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

Need suggestions for plants for a privacy screen for a pecan orchard in Chappell Hill, TX.
September 21, 2011 - Mr. Smarty Plants, My family has just begun converting our land in Chappell Hill, TX (Washington County) into a pecan orchard. We had to clear a lot of the overgrowth around the edge of the proper...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Chamaecyparis pisiflora turning brown in Fuqua-Varina NC
December 10, 2012 - I have a "Soft Serve False Cypress" Chamaecyparis pisifera'Dow Whiting PPAF, that has only been in the ground for 6-7 months. I just noticed that the branches and leaves are starting to die, turni...
view the full question and answer

Damaged Shumard oak tree in Polk County Texas
July 24, 2010 - I have a native Shumard Red Oak on our property in Polk County Texas that suffered damage (top blown out) during Hurricane Ike. Last year, one side of the tree browned early while the other side stay...
view the full question and answer

Difficulty of watering at drip line of trees from The Woodlands TX
August 18, 2011 - I'm watering my couple dozen native mature trees to make sure they survive this drought and its aftermath..and I'm reading about how to water at the drip line. But..all of my trees' drip lines ext...
view the full question and answer

Can a Texas Mountain Laurel be grown in Drake CO
August 22, 2010 - I live in Colorado, in the mountains near Estes Park, and would like to plant the Texas Mountain Laurel. Can they be grown in this environment. I would be willing to grow them in containers so I could...
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