Monday, May 23, 2011

Smoke Tree

A few years ago we were looking for a small tree for a particular spot in our backyard. We found a smoke tree in the nursery and chose it because of its deep, purple leaves. It had tiny flowers that grew in groups and added to its allure. We didn’t understand why it got the name smoke tree until the flowers matured; then it was obvious. The cluster of flowers looked like puffs of smoke. Quite an ethereal effect.

It is a versatile plant. It can be a tree that grows about 12 - 15 feet or trimmed to be a shrub – several make for a nice border hedge. It tolerates a variety of soils and actually prefers dry feet to being over-watered. The color of its leaves varies depending on the amount of sun it receives, although it thrives in full sun or partial shade. We liked it so much that this year we bought another one to plant on the other side of our yard.

I like the quality of illusion of the smoke tree. What you see is not really what is there. And what is there, your mind really doesn’t see. So much like life where things are hidden within plain sight. Even with this lovely tree, I found out that the seeds are poisonous to small animals and handling it can be an irritant to one’s skin. Beauty vs. the beast. It keeps things interesting.

Here’s a brief look at the smoke tree:

1 comment:

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