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Cornus alba is often confused with:
Cornus alba 'Argenteo-marginata' Cornus alba 'Argenteo-marginata'
Cornus sericea Cornus sericea red stem
Native alternative(s) for Cornus alba:
Cornus alternifolia Cornus alternifolia
Cornus sericea Cornus sericea red stem
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Cornus sanguinea Cornus sanguinea
Cornus sericea Cornus sericea red stem
Cornus alba 'Argenteo-marginata' Cornus alba 'Argenteo-marginata'
Cornus alba has some other problems:
Heat Stress Disorders

Tatarian Dogwood Cornus alba

Other Common Name(s):

Other plants called Tatarian Dogwood:

Previously known as:

  • Cornus pumila
  • Swida alba
Phonetic Spelling
KOR-nus AL-ba
Description

Tatarian dogwood is a shrub in the Cornaceae or dogwood family. It is grown for its ornamental value and winter interest.  It can be pruned to grow as a small tree. It has an upright and loose form that arches with long unbranched stems as it ages.  It tends to sucker to form large colonies, so root pruning may be necessary. 

Tatarian dogwood is native to eastern and central Asia or in areas inhabited by Tatars. Tatars are members of the Turkic ethnic group that live in Tatarstan, parts of Russia, and Ukraine.

The genus name, Cornus, is from the Latin word, cornu, which means "horn,' referencing the hardness of the wood. The species name, alba, means "white." This references the white fruits.

The shrub prefers full sun to partial shade in moist, well-drained soil. It is tolerant of a range of soil conditions. The best blood-red color appears on the new stems. In the spring, the oldest stems should be removed to encourage new growth. 

The Tatarian dogwoods fruits attract birds, and the stems provide nesting sites.  Flowers are visited by specialized bees. butterflies, and other pollinators. This plant is resistant to browsing by deer and rabbits.

Naturalistic plantings in moist soils where plants are allowed to spread and form thickets will make for a low-maintenance landscape that prevents erosion. Mass plant them to use as a property line screen, hedge, or in a shrub border. Site shrubs as accents in areas where key ornamental features and the vibrant red stem color can be appreciated like near a patio or along a walkway. The showy stems provide winter interest in the landscape.

Seasons of Interest

Foliage: Fall       Bloom: Spring              Fruits: Mid-Summer            Twigs: Winter

Quick ID Hints:

  • a multi-stemmed shrub with arching and erect habit
  • red stems during the fall and winter, greenish-red stems during the summer
  • prominent lenticels on the stems
  • dark green leaves and upper surface has wrinkled appearance
  • fall foliage yellowish to reddish-purple
  • clusters of creamy white blooms
  • clusters of white drupes with a bluish tinge

Insects, Diseases, and Other Problems: Leaf miner and scale are less serious potential insect pests. When stressed, the shrub is susceptible to a large number of disease problems. The most serious is dogwood anthracnose. Other diseases include powdery mildew, leaf spot, canker, root rot, and leaf and twig blight. It can also become vulnerable to borers. This shrub is more vulnerable to diseases in hot summer climates, especially south of USDA  Zone 7. The plant is weedy, and its suckering can make it difficult to remove. Please consider your planting site carefully.

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Argenteo-marginata', 'Byboughen', 'Gouchaultii', 'Sibirica'
Tags:
#cultivars#deciduous#small spaces#white flowers#wildlife plant#weedy#low maintenance#spring flowers#winter interest#fall interest#accent plant#rabbit resistant#erosion control#showy stems#showy fruits#specialized bees#fast growing#privacy#flowering shrub#deer resistant#thickets#children's garden#red stems#screening#pollinator plant#naturalized area#nesting sites#fruits summer#food source summer#food source winter#food source fall#white fruits#walkway planting#wet soils tolerant#patio planting#bird friendly#bee friendly#erosion tolerant#shrub borders#red bark
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Argenteo-marginata', 'Byboughen', 'Gouchaultii', 'Sibirica'
Tags:
#cultivars#deciduous#small spaces#white flowers#wildlife plant#weedy#low maintenance#spring flowers#winter interest#fall interest#accent plant#rabbit resistant#erosion control#showy stems#showy fruits#specialized bees#fast growing#privacy#flowering shrub#deer resistant#thickets#children's garden#red stems#screening#pollinator plant#naturalized area#nesting sites#fruits summer#food source summer#food source winter#food source fall#white fruits#walkway planting#wet soils tolerant#patio planting#bird friendly#bee friendly#erosion tolerant#shrub borders#red bark
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Cornus
    Species:
    alba
    Family:
    Cornaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Root Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central and Eastern Asia
    Distribution:
    Native: Central European Russia, China North Central, China Southeast, East European Russia, Inner Mongolia, Korea, Manchuria, Mongolia, North European Russia, West Siberia, and Yakutskiya; Introduced: Europe--Bulgaria; US--IL
    Wildlife Value:
    The flowers attract butterflies and pollinators. The fruits are attractive to birds, and the shrub provides nesting sites.  Members of the genus Cornus support the following specialized bees: Andrena (Gonandrena) fragilis, Andrena (Gonandrena) Integra, and Andrena (Gonandrena) platyparia.
    Play Value:
    Screening
    Wildlife Cover/Habitat
    Wildlife Food Source
    Wildlife Nesting
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Deer, Rabbits, Erosion
    Dimensions:
    Height: 8 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 5 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Erect
    Multi-stemmed
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4b, 4a, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7b, 7a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    White
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Drupe
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The fruits appear in mid-summer. They are clusters of white drupes that are sometimes bluish-tinged. Birds are attracted to the fruits.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Good Cut
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Cross
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    The flowers are small creamy white blooms that are arranged in flat-topped clusters or cymes. They bloom from May to June.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Oblong
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are dark green leaves, simple, opposite, and have entire margins. They measure 2 to 4.5 inches long. The upper surface appears wrinkled, and the undersides are smooth. The fall foliage may be yellow or reddish-purple. Cultivars with variegated leaves do not have significant fall colors.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Surface/Attachment:
    Smooth
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Lenticels:
    Conspicuous
    Stem Description:
    The stems are greenish-red during the summer, and they become very red during the fall and winter. They have prominent lenticels.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Patio
    Riparian
    Slope/Bank
    Small Space
    Walkways
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Children's Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rain Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Hedge
    Mass Planting
    Screen/Privacy
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Specialized Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Erosion
    Rabbits
    Wet Soil
    Problems:
    Frequent Disease Problems