Cornus sericea ssp. sericea (Red Twig Dogwood)


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Plant Description: Grows in an upright rounded form. Spreads easily through vegetative reproduction, creating large thickets. Stems are bright red throughout the winter and turn to green when the leaves emerge. Leaves are oval with deeply indented veination and turn red-purple in the fall. Flowers are flat showy clusters with individual flowers creamy white and tiny. The stems and flowers of this plant are great for bouquets. Its berry-like fruit ripens from white to pale blue. 

  • Height: 7-12ft
  • Width: 6-9ft
  • Watering needs: Moderate to wet
  • Sun needs: Full sun to shade
  • Soil needs: Medium to poor drainage, tolerant
  • Bloom Time: May-June
  • Ripening Time: Late summer-early fall
  • Portland Plant List (Backyard Habitat Certification): Yes

Landscape Use and Ecological Function: This native plant occurs across most of North America in low meadows, riparian zones, along forest margins, and within open woods as part of the understory.

We recommend growing this plant in food forests, woodland gardens, and rain gardens. Tolerates seasonal flooding. It is great for creating habitat and attracting wildlife, and it can also be used for biomass. Red twig dogwood is an important browse for large mammals while smaller mammals and birds use the fruit as a food source. 

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