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Cornus alternifolia

Previously known as:

  • Bothrocaryum alternifolium
  • Cornus alterna
  • Cornus alternifolia var. corallina
Phonetic Spelling
KOR-nus al-ter-nih-FOH-lee-ah
Description

Maroon fall foliage; alternate leaves which is unusual for a dogwood.  The branches are parallel to the ground creating a layered tiered look with upturned branches like a pagoda.  It has a fibrous, spreading root system and prefers when the root zone is kept cool.  Plant in moist, acidic soils, in the shade but will grow in the sun.  It does not transplant well due to its shallow root system.  Can be grown as a small tree or large shrub.

Seasons of Interest:

       Foliage: Fall    Bloom: Spring     

Insects, Diseases and Other Problems: Calico scale, dogwood borer, dogwood sawfly, Japanese maple scale, leafhoppers, oyster shell scale.  Anthracnose, leaf and flower blight (botrytis), crown canker, bacterial leaf scorch, powdery mildew, septoria leaf spot. This species is more resistant to the common dogwood disease problems.  It can get sunscald and it does not tolerate salt.

Cultivars:
  • 'Argentea'
Tags:
#bees#deciduous#fall color#birds#small tree#pollinators#fragrant flowers#wildlife plant#larval food#native tree#nectar plant#low maintenance#fall interest#naturalize#flowering tree#larval host#border#specialized bees#nesting#large shrub#horizontal
Cultivars:
  • 'Argentea'
Tags:
#bees#deciduous#fall color#birds#small tree#pollinators#fragrant flowers#wildlife plant#larval food#native tree#nectar plant#low maintenance#fall interest#naturalize#flowering tree#larval host#border#specialized bees#nesting#large shrub#horizontal
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Cornus
    Species:
    alternifolia
    Family:
    Cornaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central & E. Canada to N. Central & E. U.S.A.
    Wildlife Value:
    Fruits are attractive to birds and plants provide nesting sites.  118 species of Lepidopteran caterpillars feed on Cornus. Members of the genus Cornus support the following specialized bees: Andrena (Gonandrena) fragilis, Andrena (Gonandrena) integra, and Andrena (Gonandrena) platyparia.
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    More resistant to diseases than other dogwoods. Tolerates deer and black walnut.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 15 ft. 0 in. - 25 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 10 ft. 0 in. - 20 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Shrub
    Tree
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Horizontal
    Multi-trunked
    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:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    12-24 feet
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Blue
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Drupe
    Fruit Description:
    Drupe on red stalks green in summer blue-purple in the fall.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Cross
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    White to cream colored flat typed cyme in 3"-4" clusters. Very fragrant blooms appear late May to early June after leave emerge. They are not as showy as other dogwoods.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Whorled
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are alternate appearing whorled on the stem. 2"-5" inches longand 1"-2 1/2" wide. Red-purple fall color. Veins appear almost parallel.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Ridges
    Bark Description:
    Gray ridged and furrowed when mature.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Purple/Lavender
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Polished
    Stem Description:
    Stems are shiny purple-brown
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Patio
    Small Space
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Flowering Tree
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Moths
    Pollinators
    Songbirds
    Specialized Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Black Walnut
    Deer