Cotinus coggygria , Photo: Michael Lahanas
The Eurasian smoketree or smoke tree (Cotinus coggygria, syn. Rhus cotinus) is native to a large area from southern Europe, east across central Asia and the Himalaya to northern China.
It is a multiple-branching shrub growing to 5-7 m tall with an open, spreading, irregular habit, only rarely forming a small tree. The leaves are 3-8 cm long, rounded oval, green with a waxy glaucous sheen. The autumn colour can be strikingly varied, from peach and yellow to scarlet. The flowers are numerous, produced in large inflorescences 15-30 cm long; each flower 5-10 mm diameter, with five pale yellow petals. Most of the flowers in each inflorescence abort, elongating into yellowish-pink to pinkish-purple feathery plumes (when viewed en masse these have a wispy 'smoke-like' appearance, hence the common name) which surround the small (2-3 mm) drupaceous fruit that do develop.
It is commonly grown as an ornamental plant, with several cultivars available. Many of these have been selected for purple foliage and flowers. The wood was formerly used to make the yellow dye called young fustic.
Source: Wikipedia, Wikispecies: All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License