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Gray Dogwood Cornus racemosa


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Gray Dogwood, showing fruit
credit: Mitternacht90

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Alternate name: Gray-stemmed Dogwood

Family: Cornaceae, Dogwood view all from this family

Description Cornus racemosa, sometimes called Northern Swamp Dogwood, is a shrubby plant species growing to 5 m tall. It is native to southeastern Canada and northeastern United States.

Plants produce many stems and sucker much with older stems having distinctively gray colored bark. Upright growing plants with rounded habit have oppositely arranged leaves, and terminally born flowers. The white colored flowers are small with four petals and clustered together in rounded, 2-inch-wide (51 mm) clusters called cymose panicles, produced in May to early June. After flowering, green fruits are produced that turn white in late summer, the white fruits or drupes are attached to the plant by way of rich red colored pedicels. Many species of Birds feed on the fruits. Old branches grow slowly, while new stems are fast growing, each branch tends to end in flowers. In the fall the foliage can take on a reddish or purplish color, though it's not overly showy from a distance.

Habitat Cities, suburbs & towns, Scrub, shrub & brushlands, Watersides (fresh), Fields.

Range Great Lakes, Southeast, Plains, Mid-Atlantic, Texas, New England, Eastern Canada.

Comments Will adapt to drier sites. Used in erosion control and for wildlife habitat. Resistant to most diseases, insects and physiological problems.

Exposure Preference Sun to partial shade.

Flower May - June.

Native Distribution Maine to Ontario & Manitoba, s. to South Carolina & Arkansas.

Site Preference Thickets; river bank woods; wet to dry, low, open areas.

Soil Preference Moist soils. pH 6.1-8.5.

Wildlife Value Fruit eaten by birds and other wildlife.