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Home > Landscaping > Native Plants for Western Washington Gardens and Restoration Projects



Cornus stolonifera

Red-osier Dogwood

Flowering Period: Apr, May, Jun April May June
Flower color: white
Mostly sunny
Wet soil Moist soil


At a Glance: Spreading, thicket-forming shrub with bright red stems.

Height: Up to 20 feet (6 meters).
Growth Form: Shrub.
Stems: Bright red, smooth stems; opposite branches; branches can root freely.
Leaves: Opposite arrangement; oval, sharp-pointed with 5-7 prominent parallel veins that converge at leaf tips; filmy white threads running through veins; leaves can become reddish in autumn; size: 5-10 cm (2-4 in) long.
Flowers: The tiny flowers have 4 petals and 4 stamens; numerous in dense, flat-topped terminal clusters; primary color: white to greenish; size: 2-4 mm long.
Flowering Period: April, May, June.
Fruits: Berry-like drupes ranging from pale bluish-green to white in color, each with some flattened stones; bitter and inedible; size: 7-9 mm long.

Cornus stolonifera
Photo © Starflower Foundation
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Sun/Shade Tolerance Hydrology Elevation Range
full sun > 80%
mostly sunny 60%-80%
partial sun and shade 40%- 60%
mostly shady 60%-80%
full shade > 80%

wet
moist
dry

Wetland Indicator Status:
FACW (facultative wetland)
low elevation
mid elevation
sub-alpine
high elevation


Soil Preferences
Prefers seasonally inundated soils.
sandy soils
gravelly soils
clay soils
muddy soils
peaty soils
well drained soils
shallow soils
deep soils
acidic soils
basic soils
humic soils
nutrient rich soils
nutrient poor soils
mineral soils
organic soils

Habitat Preferences
Aquatic and Wetland:
Ponds or lakes
Shallow pools
Sloughs
Swales or wet ditches
Seasonally inundated areas
Marshes or swamps
Aquatic bed wetlands
Emergent wetlands
Scrub-shrub wetlands
Forested wetlands
Bogs, fens
Seeps, springs
Shorelines and Riparian:
Lake shores
Bog margins
Streams or rivers
Stream or river banks
Riparian corridors
River bars
Floodplains
Bottomlands
Alluvial areas
Saltwater Areas:
In or near saltwater
Mud flats
Tidal areas
Estuaries
Saltmarshes
Brackish water
Seashores
Coastal dunes or beaches
Rocky or Gravelly Areas:
Coastal bluffs
Cliffs
Rocky slopes
Outcrops
Crevices
Glacial outwash
Gullies
Slide areas
Sub-alpine and Alpine:
Heaths
Snow beds
Tundra
Avalanche tracks
Forests and Thickets:
Forests and woods
Open forests
Coniferous forests
Old growth forests
Deciduous forests
Mixed forests
Nurse logs
Forest edges, openings, or clearings
Thickets
Meadows and Fields:
Pastures or fields
Meadows or grassy areas
Mossy areas
Disturbed Areas:
Roadsides
Trailsides
Logged sites
Burned areas
Disturbed sites

Wildlife Value
Berries
Seeds
Nectar for hummingbirds
Nectar for butterflies
Host for insect larvae
Thickets and shelter
Thorny or protective cover

Birds: The berries are eaten by birds such as vireos, warblers, kingbirds, robins, flickers, flycatchers, wood ducks, grouse, band-tailed pigeons, and quail.
Insects: The nectar is used by orange sulphur and other adult butterflies. The leaves are used by spring azure and other butterfly larvae.
Mammals: The berries are eaten by mammals such as bears, foxes, skunks, and chipmunks. The wood is browsed by deer, elk, and rabbits. Beavers and muskrats use twigs to repair dams or build new dams.


Ethnobotanical Uses and Other Facts
Landscape Uses: Prized for the red winter twig color.


Suggested References



The landscaping and restoration information provided on this page is taken from the Starflower Foundation Image Herbarium. All photographs © Starflower Foundation unless otherwise noted.