Cotinus Coggygria or Smoke Bush
Kotinos is the name given by the Greeks to the wild olive. The genus contains only two species. Cotinus coggygria is native to the area extending from southern Europe to central Asia. It is a deciduous shrub up to 5 m (16 ft) high with long-stalked, alternate, entire, lanceolate leaves. The, which appear in June, are five-pointed, yellowish and arranged in panicles. Characteristic are the many sterile stalks in the panicles covered with feathery, reddish or greenish hairs. The fruits are small drupes about 3 to 4 mm (1/10 to 1/8 in) across. The leaves turn orange or red in the autumn. A well-known variety is purpurea, which has purplish hairs at the base of the panicles, and there are several garden varieties, most often grown being ‘Royal Purple’ with dark purple foliage and ‘Rubrifolius’ with purplish-red foliage.
The smoke bush is propagated from seeds which can be sown immediately after they have been harvested. If stored for the winter they should be stratified in spring and sown in the autumn. Garden forms are generally propagated by. The smoke bush does well in both dry and moist soils; however, it requires sun and does not tolerate shade. It may be planted in small gardens as a solitary specimen and looks well planted in loose groupings; it is also very effective on slopes. Good companions are barberry and spiraea.