American smoketree, Cotinus obovatus, Ozark Mountains


Cotinus obovatus (American smoketree) is a rare deciduous tree with a relictual distribution in southeastern North America. Efforts to map its fine-scale geographic distribution in the Ozark Mountains have been limited to the growing season when the distinctive blooming panicles and foliage facilitate detection in hardwood-cedar woodlands. I describe the physiognomic traits of leafless C. obovatus that permit effective population mapping in winter landscapes. Clumped growth and diagonally leaning stems facilitate detection at a distance. Bark texture, twig morphology, and sap odor confirm the identity of the tree at close range.

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