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Form/fall color

Roughleaf Dogwood, Cornel Dogwood, Small-flower Dogwood, White Cornel
Cornus drummondii


A common understory shrub in the eastern half of the state, roughleaf dogwood has shiny green leaves, showy clusters of creamy white flowers from May to August, round white fruit, and red foliage in the fall. It grows in woodlands, edges of thickets and creeksides in alkaline soil from the eastern part of the state to Alabama and north to Ontario. Although it is usually multi-trunked, it can be pruned to a tree form, growing as high as 16 feet. The hard white fruits ripen from August to October, and provide food for at least 40 species of birds, making it an important wildscape plant. The opposite, deciduous leaves are 1 to 5 inches long and half as wide and the terminal flower clusters can be up to 3 inches across. Roughleaf dogwood prefers some moisture, but can tolerate dry conditions if it is planted in deep soil. It can adapt from full sun to heavy shade, but flowers and fruits better the more sunlight it receives. It grows quickly and suckers profusely, a negative in gardens or near lawns but an asset for erosion control, stabilizing banks, shelter-belt plantings, or planting for wildlife in naturalized or wild areas. The white fruits are quite showy from a distance, but as with American beautyberry, they don't last long because they are so quickly eaten by birds, who then help in distributing more plants.

Plant Habit or Use: large shrub
small tree

Exposure: sun
partial sun

Flower Color: creamy white

Blooming Period: spring

Fruit Characteristics: hard white drupe

Height: to 16 feet

Width: to 16 feet

Plant Character: deciduous

Heat Tolerance: medium

Water Requirements:

Soil Requirements: alkaline

USDA Hardiness Zone: 3

Additional Comments:

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