The smokebushes provide summer and autumn interest, including this one, which can be found in the Autumn Garden.
Belonging to the cashew and sumach family, Anacardiaceae, the genus Cotinus contains only two species: the North American C. obovatus, and C. coggygria, which occurs in southern Europe to central China. This one, C. coggygria, is a deciduous shrub growing to 3m in height. It has simple, obovate leaves with parallel veins, and these take on orange and red colourings in autumn. In summer this species is enveloped in a mass of loose, panicles which bear very few, inconspicuous flowers, held on fine, silky filaments, and it is from these that the genus earns the name smokebush. The wood is yellow in colour, and produces a yellow dye, which has been used for dying silk and wool since the Middle Ages.