Shrub or small tree to 6 m (20 ft) tall and 10 cm (4 in) diameter, with spreading crown. Bark gray to blackish. Twigs orange to brown, glabrous, aromatic when crushed. Sap resinous and strong-smelling. Leaves alternate, elliptical to obovate, 5-13 cm (2-5 in) long and 4-7.5 cm (1.6-3 in) wide, entire, short-pointed at base, rounded at apex, turning orange to scarlet in fall. Flowers small, greenish, numerous in panicles about 15 cm (6 in) long in early spring. Fruits small drupes about 5 mm (0.2 in) in diameter. Stalks of sterile flowers become long and are covered with purplish or brownish hairs.
Distribution: Native to the southern Appalachians, Ozarks, and Edwards Plateau. Rare and local in northeastern Oklahoma.
Habitat: forested limestone bluffs and ravines.
NWI status: none
Comment: Cotinus is the old Greek name for another tree: obovatus refers to the shape of the leaf.
Distribution in Oklahoma:
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Last update: 9/9/99
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