Please identify this tree/bush for me. We planted it about two years ago and...

Asked November 11, 2014, 7:09 AM EST

Please identify this tree/bush for me. We planted it about two years ago and cannot remember what it is. I just trimmed it back from about 5-6 feet high and relocated it to another part of the yard. I have never seen any kind of flower or pod or anything on it but leaves. It has several small trunks coming from the ground rather than one large one. Thank you for your help.

Cecil County Maryland

3 Responses

We are not sure what this is. Where/what type of store did you buy it from? We can't tell from your photo how the leaves are arranged. Are they growing on opposite sides of the branch from each other or in an alternate pattern.
Is there a reason you keep cutting it back? The fact that it has multiple leaders could be because of this, as could the lack of flowers/pods/seeds, etc.
Our first thoughts right off the bat included some sort of magnolia or nyssa sylvatica (aka black gum). Either of these sound familiar?

I have never trimmed this tree before. We got it from an organization that was offering free trees on-line two years ago. It was just a twig when we planted it. I looked up the black gum and the magnolia and the leaves are not at all the same. Here are three pictures that will show the leaves better. I hope that you are able to identify it for me. Thank you for your help.

This appears to be a smoke bush. The indentation on the end of the leaf suggests that it is a native species, American Smoketree, Cotinus obovatus. It can grow 20 to 30 feet tall and is considered a small tree rather than a bush. These plants get lots of hairs on the flower clusters and this is what looks like smoke. Known for good fall color. Yours has more growing to do before it gets really attractive.