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

Black walnut herbivory
June 13, 2005 - We moved to Texas just about a year ago and have loved it here. This past January we visited the Wildflower Center and obtained some black walnut seeds. Up until last night the tree was doing well p...
view the full question and answer

Blocking dust from a road in Sturgis MS
September 20, 2012 - Please let me know what Trees/shrubs will help block dust from dirt road.
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native Chinaberry tree from Tucson AZ
September 05, 2013 - I have a 30+ year old Chinaberry tree and this year the branches are much sparser with leaves and there are a lot of small dead branches. Should I fertilize and what should I use? Thank you
view the full question and answer

Small flowering tree for Huntingdon Beach, CA
November 07, 2008 - I am looking for a short approx. 10 foot tall tree to plant in the 2 corners of my backyard near a wall. I would like them to be thin approx. 5 feet wide where light can get through so my other plant...
view the full question and answer

Bald cypress trees for yard in Mackinaw IL
September 14, 2010 - We are looking at planting a few bald cypress trees in our front yard. I have heard of the extensive root system that these trees have and wonder how far away from a septic system and the house found...
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