Plant types and subtypes: Trees & Shrubs, Shrubs, Deciduous
Light Requirements: sun, part-sun, part-shade
Water Use: medium
Soil Moisture: dry, moist, wet
Soil Description: acid, neutral, rich, average, poor, loam, clay, sand, gravel/rock
Bloom Time: May, June
Bloom Color: white
Leaf Color: green
Hardiness Zone: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Additional Tags: attracts birds, attracts butterflies, berries, colonizing, fall interest, hedging plant, naturalizing, pond margin plant, rock garden plant, shade garden plant, showy fruit, stream margin plant
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Cornus racemosaAlso known as:
northern swamp dogwood
Cornus racemosa is a medium-sized, slow growing deciduous shrub, that can reach heights between 6' to 15' at maturity. It is multi-stemmed, with a suckering habit that will form dense thickets if left to naturalize. The white flowers are borne on terminal racemes, hence its genus modifier "racemosa". These give way to showy clusters of white berry-like fruit. The young stems are distinctly red, and provide a good color contrast with the white fruit. The leaves are oblong or lance-shaped, green and conspicuously veined. Fall foliage can be very attractive, in dull shades of purple, but is unreliable.
Cornus racemosa is very easy to grow and adaptable to a wide range of soil and light conditions. It can be found growing along marshes, swamps, wetlands and in flood plains in sandy silty soil, where it is exposed to seasonal inundation. It also occurs at higher elevations, in open woodlands, in drier mesic conditions. Suckers should be removed if the shrub is being used as a specimen. It can also be planted in groups to create an informal, medium height hedge or screen. Its adaptability makes it well suited for use in urban settings. Flowering can occur from May to July. Zones 3-8
Very easy to propagate. Fresh seeds should be sown immediately. Stored seeds will required cold stratification to break dormancy, followed by scarification. Suckers can be safely removed from older shrubs and transplanted. It can be layered, or stems can be pinned to the ground until they root. Hardwood cuttings taken when the plant is dormant can be set aside for rooting, or buried as is.
There are very few shrubs that are as adaptable as the gray dogwood, while also providing high ornamental benefits. The fruit are of very high food value to songbirds, waterfowl and mammals.
Native Range & Classification
Recorded County Distribution: USDA data
AR, CT, DE, IA, IL, IN, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, SC, SD, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV
|Species||Cornus racemosa||gray dogwood|