This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(ancient Greek name of a tree with red wood). Anacardiaceae. Smoke-Tree. Chittam-Wood. Woody plants, grown chiefly for the attractive feathery fruiting panicles and for the handsome foliage turning brilliant colors in autumn.
Deciduous shrubs or trees with a strong-smelling juice: leaves slender-petioled, entire, without stipules: flowers dioecious or polygamous, small, greenish or yellowish, in large and loose terminal panicles; the pedicels of the numerous sterile flowers lengthen after the flowers have dropped and become clothed with spreading hairs; petals 5, twice as long as the pointed calyx-lobes, the 5 stamens shorter than the petals, inserted between the lobes of the disk; ovary superior with 3 short styles: fruit a small compressed oblique-obovate dry drupelet with the style on one side. - Two species, one in N. Amer. and one in S. Eu. to Cent. Asia. Formerly usually included under Rhus, which differs chiefly in its usually compound and more or less serrate leaves, the globose fruit with terminal style, the absence of plumose pedicels and in the milky juice. Often planted, particularly the European species, for its loose feathery panicles which give almost the effect of a dense cloud of smoke, from which the shrub derives its name. The panicles of the American species are much less showy, but the autumnal coloring is more brilliant. Both species hardy as far north as Mass., the American being somewhat more tender.
They prefer a sunny, and in the N., a somewhat sheltered position and well-drained soil, and are adapted for planting in dry and rocky ground. Prop, by seeds; also by root-cuttings and layers.
Coggygria, Scop. (C. Cotinus, Sarg. C. Coccygea, Koch. Rhus Cotinus, Linn.) Smoke-Tree. Fig. 1079. Spreading, rather dense shrub, to 15 ft.: leaves slender-petioled, oval or obovate, abruptly narrowed at the base, rounded at the apex, glabrous, 1 1/2-3 1/2 in- long: panicles to 8 in. long, densely plumose, usually purplish: fruits few, about 1/8 in. long. June, July: fruit Aug., Sept. S. Eu. to Cent. China and Himalayas. Gn. 34, p. 162; 54, p. 505; 71, p. 552. Gng. 5:118. M.D.G. 1902:217. G.C. III. 29:92. H.W. 3, p. 32. variety atropurpurea, Dipp. Panicles with dark purple hairs. variety pendula, Dipp.
Fig. 1079. Cotinus Coggygria. (X 1/3)
Branches pendulous. variety pubescens, Engler. Leaves, at least beneath, and often also the young branches, pubescent.
Nutt. (C. cotinoides, Brit. Rhus cotinoides, Nutt.). Upright shrub or small tree, to 35 ft.: leaves gradually narrowed at the base, obovate to ellip-tic-obovate, rounded at the apex, silky beneath when young, at maturity glabrous or nearly so, 4-6 in. long: panicles 5-6 in. long, with short and rather inconspicuous pale purple or brownish hairs. June, July. Ala. to W. Texas and E. Tenn. S.S. 3:98, 99. - The autumnal tints orange and scarlet, as in the preceding species, but more brilliant. Alfred Rehder.