The American Smoke Tree is an eastern U.S. native and a member of the Sumac Family. This tree typically reaches approximately 25' — 40' in height and seems to favor alkaline soils.
The American Smoketree is much more arboreal than the common smokebush that is more familiar in the nursery trade. It has been shown to be stem hardy to -25°F.
The American Smoketree's spatulate leaf is twice the size of the common smokebush with the blade as much as 3" long. The blue-green leaf gives the plant a bold texture in the summer.
The American smoketree is one of the finest native trees we have when it comes to fall color. The brilliant fall color ranges from yellow to red and combined with leaves which become translucent in autumn. Some say the leaves are almost fluorescent. Multiple colors can occur on the same tree.
The plant is dioecoius with the male considered by some to have better fall color. Fall color is best when the tree is grown in bright sun and on poorer, dry soils. Fruit is small and sparingly set, and squirrels tend to collect the unripened seeds even before they fall. The flower, while not quite as as showy as the common smokebush panicle, is still quite attractive. The attractive scaled bark is also an asset.
Spring leaves emerge bronze to purple. The smokey spring flowers and brilliant fall color combine to make this tree highly ornamental.