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Audubon® Native Smoketree
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An autumn bonfire! Smoke Tree gets its name from its wispy, pinkish, late-spring flowers that look like clouds of smoke, but the real conflagration happens in fall, when the foliage combusts. The color change starts gradually at first, the blue-green leaves taking on pastel rainbow-sherbet shades of raspberry, orange, lemon, and lime. Eventually the whole canopy becomes a blaze of pink-orange flames. Tree and shrub authority Michael Dirr says, “it may be the best of all American shrub/trees for intensity of color.” We agree! As an added bonus, female Smoke Trees offer up small seeds that attract finches.
May Benefit & Attract: cardinals & grosbeaks, wrens, sparrows, thrushes, orioles, finches, mockingbirds & thrashers, vireos, wood warblers
Take Birds Under Your Wing
New! Introducing our bird-friendly collection of Audubon® Native Plants & Trees
- Better for Birds, 100% Neonic-Free
- Not Available in non-native regions, states or counties (see Native Regions map)
Bower & Branch is proud to grow Audubon® Native Plants for Birds in partnership with the National Audubon Society to help birds and other wildlife thrive.
- The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow
- This bird-friendly native plant provides food and shelter for local and migrating birds and other wildlife
- Your purchase and planting of this native flora directly supports Audubon’s conservation mission and impact
- Learn how you can help birds in your home and community through Audubon’s Plants for Birds program
- Audubon Native Plants & Trees are free of neonicotinoids and exclusively grown by Bower & Branch
Audubon® is a licensed and registered trademark of the National Audubon Society. All rights reserved.
- Hardiness Zone: 4-8
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Smoke Tree’s native range is limited to just a few scattered pockets in the south-central U.S. It’s found in Arkansas, Missouri, and Texas, and possibly in a few more neighboring states. Its small population size was not helped by the fact that the wood contains yellow-orange dye that was once highly coveted. Overharvesting, especially during the Civil War, depleted the already small numbers. The nation’s largest specimen today is actually a tree planted far outside of its natural range. This multi-stemmed beauty, in Connecticut, is 33 feet tall and 47 feet wide.
We all think we have a few eccentric family members, but Smoke Tree has us beat! Its closest relatives include Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, Cashews, Mangoes, and Pistachios. (Smoke Tree foliage does not make you itch, in case you were wondering.)
How to Grow
Grow your Smoke Tree in full sun for the most intense fall color. The type of soil doesn’t matter much as long as it drains quickly. This tree enjoys regular water during establishment (our Elements™ Watering System will help you deliver the right amount), but after a year or two, it should be quite drought tolerant. This is a dioecious tree, which means that there are male and female clones. Males have bigger flower sprays, but only females have seeds for finches (if a male tree is nearby for pollination). Smoke Tree is late to leaf out in spring, so be patient.
This graphic shows the approximate size and form of the Tree you are viewing.
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