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smoke tree

Also called American smoke tree, chittamwood. a tree, Cotinus obovatus, of the cashew family, native to the southeastern U.S., having egg-shaped leaves and large clusters of small white flowers.
Also called Venetian sumac. a related shrub, C. coggygria, of Eurasia, having elliptical leaves and clusters of hairy, purple flowers.
1840-50 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for smoke-tree

smoke tree

an anacardiaceous shrub, Cotinus coggygria, of S Europe and Asia, having clusters of yellowish feathery flowers
a related tree, Cotinus americanus, of the southern US
Word Origin
C19: so named because of the similarity between its flower clusters and a cloud of smoke
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Article for smoke-tree

smoke tree

any of several plant species whose foliage suggests clouds of smoke. Dalea spinosa is a spiny, grayish green shrub, of the pea family (Fabaceae), native to arid regions of southwestern North America. It has sparse foliage and bears bluish violet flowers in terminal spikes. The name smoke tree is also applied to two species of small shrubby plants of the genus Cotinus within the cashew family (Anacardiaceae); one is native to Eurasia, the other to North America. Both have short-stalked leaves, yellow flowers, strong-smelling juice, and fleshy, lopsided fruits. The fruits are borne in long clusters with stalks from the sterile flowers; the clusters resemble smoke from a distance. Cotinus coggygria, the Eurasian species, has oval leaves; C. obovatus, the North American species, has wedge-shaped leaves and is sometimes called chittamwood.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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