Common smoketree: A plant that attracts millions of visitors in China
By Ding Qian
Talking about popular plants in China, the common smoketree must be one of the favorites.
Many poems extolling the beauty of the plant have been passed down for generations. The well-known Chinese poet Na-lan Hsing-te (1655-1685) once described the scenic view of common smoketrees, by writing: "The cold stream is covered with red leaves, the forest is silent and deserted, all the trees are in a solemn atmosphere."
Until today, admiring the beauty of common smoketrees in autumn is still a prevalent leisure activity in China. When the tree's leaves turn red, millions of Chinese go to the mountains with their family and friends, to capture the transient beauty of the season.
When smoketrees bloom in May, they look like purple smoke seen from a distance, hence the name. The long stalks of its flowers look like smoky pink feathers hung on the branches, covering the tree with fluffy and smoke-like puffs.
But the plant is most known for its red leaves. Fragrant Hills, a former imperial garden at the foot of the Western Hills in Beijing, China, is covered with countless common smoketrees. Every autumn, the hill turns to a colorful canvas, attracting millions of visitors.
Native to southern Europe and China, the common smoketree belongs to the family Anacardiaceae. Its wood can be used to make yellow dye. In Chinese medicine, the leaves are used to treat cold, gingivitis, hypertension, and other diseases.
About Life of Trees
Life of Trees is a series of videos, articles and photos about the trees in the world.