Cornus sericea L. - Red-Osier Dogwood


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Cornus sericea - (image 1 of 4)



Family: Cornaceae


Synonymous with Cornus stolonifera


Marshy ground, calcareous fens, and shrub-carr. Also in moist swales and in bogs.




Newfoundland west to AK, south to PA, IN, IL and northern Mexico.


Colonial shrub to 3 m, often forming dense thickets; twigs reddish, often with the red intensifying in the winter; older bark smooth, thin, reddish-gray. Leaves opposite, ovate, acuminate, simple, entire, deep green above, lighter beneath; most with more than 5 pairs of lateral veins. Flowers small, in flattened upright cymes. Fruit white, berry-like, on red peduncles.    


Flowers late May to September

Wetland indicator: Facultative Wetland

This species is similar to gray dogwood, C. racemosa. It is more likely to be found in wetlands than C. racemosa but their habitats do overlap. Usually only the youngest twigs are red in C. racemosa and they soon turn gray. The pairs of lateral veins is possibly the best characteristic to use during the summer. In the winter the bright red twigs of Red-osier really stand out.

This species is also known by C. stolonifera Michx. and some authorities consider it conspecific with the European C. alba L.



A variegated cultivar of Cornus alba


Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second Ed.
The New York Botanical Garden. Bronx, NY


Swink, F. and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region.
Indiana Academy of Science. The Morton Arboretum. Lisle, Illinois.




 Michael Hough 2004