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Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Cotinus (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: lvs. slender-petioled, entire, without stipules: fls. dioecious or polygamous, small, greenish or yellowish, in large and loose terminal panicles: the pedicels of the numerous sterile fls. lengthen after the fls. 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: fr. 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 lvs., the globose fr. 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.

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  1. REDIRECT Smoke tree
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