Location: western Massachusetts

We cut it severely (to remove it) because it was kind of unwieldy when we first moved here, but the plant was very resilient and now it has grown back slim stems and leaves.

Pic 1 (large) Pic 2 (large) Pic 3 (large)

  • 1
    Do you remember if all the leaves were red before you cut it back? Or were some of them green?
    – csk
    May 30, 2021 at 1:58
  • 1
    Did the plant ever flower before you removed it? If not, what month did you remove it in?
    – Jurp
    May 30, 2021 at 2:57
  • Do you know if the shrub is deciduous or evergreen?
    – Jurp
    May 30, 2021 at 3:03
  • We tried to remove it in late summer so not sure if it's deciduous. I don't recall seeing the flowers but we may have missed it. Is there anything we can do now to help it grow back..?
    – Roc W.
    May 30, 2021 at 13:43
  • Good thing you added that last photo. It looks so different in that one, I doubt anyone could have ID'd it correctly from the first two photos.
    – csk
    May 30, 2021 at 16:28

2 Answers 2


Possibly Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple' (Smokebush) or similar purple cultivar, though some of the leaves don't look quite right - a bit too pointed, maybe? On the other hand, the stems look right. Check out the photos here. If it is a cotinus, you'll know for sure when it flowers.

  • Flowering may not take place as its been cut back so hard, but later leaves should display a more rounded shape as the weeks go by if it is Cotinus - apart from the rather pointy leaves, it otherwise looks very much like the Cotinus you name...
    – Bamboo
    May 30, 2021 at 11:59
  • It looks very similar and the leaves indeed look more rounded now!! See the new picture.
    – Roc W.
    May 30, 2021 at 13:44
  • @RocW. - Yes, that looks very much like it. As you've discovered, they don't mind being cut hard back. From the RHS website: "'Royal Purple' is a bushy large deciduous shrub to 5m, with rounded, deep purple leaves becoming redder in autumn. Large feathery, pink inflorescences in summer."
    – Peter4075
    May 30, 2021 at 14:22

I found a couple of possibilities. If you can add a close-up of the top surface of one leaf, that might be helpful in confirming or ruling these out.

Both are evergreen shrubs with some red leaves and some green leaves, so if you remember what it looked like before you cut it back that might be helpful.

  • Good guesses, but I don't think it's either of these. The mystery plant has opposite leaves while Photinia has alternate leaves and pieris has leaves in a rosette.
    – Jurp
    May 30, 2021 at 2:52
  • @Jurp - are you certain they're opposite?
    – Peter4075
    May 30, 2021 at 8:17
  • Yes, and Photinia is hardy only to US zone 7. Western Massachusetts is zone 5.
    – Jurp
    May 30, 2021 at 12:52
  • @Jurp - I don't think cotinus has opposite leaves.
    – Peter4075
    May 30, 2021 at 14:25

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