Description

 

The Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple' is a deciduous shrub from the Anacardiaceae family and is commonly named smoketree.

The smoketree is native to a large area from southern Europe, eastern part of central Asia, the Himalayas to northern China.

The Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple' has oval leaves. In spring the leaves are violet red and the turn more purple during the season. In autumn they finally turn to red and then fall off. The smoketree is a very decorative shrub because of its beautiful purple leaves that look like velvet. It is a beautiful sight the way the raindrops stay on top of the leaves.

It is called smoketree because of the inflorescence. The feathery flower plumes look like a fluffy, hazy smoke. In spring the plumes develop. They have the same colour as the leaves. At first in May small yellow flowers appear on the plumes. After the bloom the plumes on which fruits develop stay and the stems keep on growing with hairs and cover the tree with smoke-like puffs in summer. The plumes that do not have fruits will wither.

The smoketree prefers a sunny spot with protection against the wind. The Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple' likes well-drained soil and is not very tolerant to salt. The shrub looks nicer when placed in poor soil and tolerates some drought.

You can keep the Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple' in a nice shape by pruning. That way you can keep the shrub from growing too high and/or wide and it will become fuller. Keep in mind that pruning may result in fewer flowers. Drastic pruning will result in larger leaves and those are also beautiful. I usually prune after the bloom. That way the shrub can develop new branches in that summer which will carry flowers next year.

The card on my smoketree said that it would reach only 2 metres (6 ft 7 inches) and that is of course incorrect. If you do not prune regularly the shrub will become a lot larger and about as wide (see specifications). The sap that is released after pruning gives of an unpleasant smell.

Specifications

  

Characteristic: deciduous

Exposure: sun/ part shade

Foliage colour: red/purple

Flower colour: yellow

Flowering time: May - June

Hardiness: -20 ºC/ -4 ºF

Height: 19 ft 8 inches/ 6 m

Soil: normal