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Red-osier Dogwood, Western Dogwood, American Dogwood - Cornus sericea


Family: Cornaceae - Dogwood family Genus Common Name: Dogwood Native Status: NativePerennial Tree Shrub
Cornus sericea - Red-osier Dogwood, Western Dogwood, American Dogwood. here are two subspecies of Cornus sericea - occidentalis (Western Dogwood, found in CA, NV, ID, OR, WA, MT, AK) and sericea (Red-osier Dogwood, found in most of the U.S. and Canada, except for 12 of the southeastern states.)

It is a shrub that grows up to about 12' tall. The stems are reddish from late summer into early fall, being a quite colorful red during winter until they transition to green as spring nears. It grows primarily in wet habitats. The plant I photographed was growing within the flood zone of a steep mountain creek near the bottom of the Kleinschmidt Grade in Adams County, Idaho.

Found in:
AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MT, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SD, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY

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Cornus sericea

Distribution of Cornus sericea in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2017. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 23 Jul 2017). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

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Site: Kleinschmidt Grade, Adams County, ID Date: 2012-May-26Photographer: Gerald C. Williamson
Nikon D7000
As with all Dogwoods, the flowers are generally small with 4 sepals, 4 petals , and 4 stamens.
Cornus sericea

Site: Kleinschmidt Grade, Adams County, ID Date: 2012-May-26Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The red color of the stems is perhaps the primary feature that makes these attractive as an addition to a landscaping project. They are red to a reddish purple from summer through fall, becoming a bright red in the winter when the leaves have fallen. This shrub grows up to about 12 feet tall.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Cornus sericea

Site: Kleinschmidt Grade, Adams County, ID Date: 2012-May-26Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
In combination with the flower cluster, the leaves of this plant are what made me initially think this plant was a dogwood (Cornus) in spite of it being a shrub rather than the small trees Iím used to seeing in the southeastern United States.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Cornus sericea

Site: Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Lake County, MN Date: 2012-September-03Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Some blossoms may remain as the fruit develops.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Cornus sericea

Site: Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Lake County, MN Date: 2012-September-03Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The fruit (berries) of Red-osier Dogwood are white.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Cornus sericea

Site: Hull's Gulch, Boise Foothills, Ada County, ID Date: 2011-June-21Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Western Dogwood (Red-osier Dogwood) is a shrub that grows up to about 12í tall.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Cornus sericea

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2017
Photographs Copyright owned by the named photographer