pagoda dogwood

(Cornus alternifolia)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

pagoda dogwood

NatureServe

N5? - Secure

SNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Wetland
Indicator
Status

Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland

Midwest

FAC - Facultative

Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland

Nativity

Native

Occurrence

Common

Habitat

Woods, wood edges, thickets.

Photo by Bill Reynolds
Flowering

May to June

 
Flower Color

White

 
Height

8 to 25

 

Identification

This plant is deciduous, slow-growing, and short-lived. It is usually a shrub, sometimes a small tree. In Minnesota mature individuals are usually 8 to 25 tall, with a trunk up to 6 in diameter, though large individuals may reach 30 tall.

When in the form of a shrub, it rises on several sprawling stems that often fork near the ground.

When in the form of a tree, it rises on a single trunk. The crown is broad and flat-topped. Branches are horizontal and curl upwards at the ends. They are arranged in irregular whorls, forming separate, horizontal tiers, which gives the crown a layered appearance and the plant its common name.

The bark on young trees is dark green and smooth. On mature trees the bark is thin, dark gray to reddish brown, and smooth or dividing into shallow fissures.

The twigs are slender, smooth, shiny, greenish-yellow to dark reddish-brown, or dark purplish-red. The pith is white. The tips of the twigs turn upwards. Dead twigs turn yellowish-orange.

The terminal buds are about ¼ long, narrowly egg-shaped, pointed, reddish-brown or purplish-brown, and loosely covered with 2 or 3 scales. Flower buds are rounded.

The leaves are alternate, oval to egg-shaped, 2½ to 4½ long, and 2 to 3 wide. They are on 1¼ to 2 long leaf stalks. They are usually clustered near the tips of the branches, making them appear whorled or almost opposite. On each side of the midrib there are 5 or 6 conspicuous veins that curve upward toward the tip of the leaf. They are rounded or short-tapered at the base and tapered at the tip to a long, sharp point. The upper surface is dark green and hairless or sparsely hairy with appressed hairs. The lower surface is paler and hairy. The leaves turn yellow to red to purple in autumn.

The inflorescence is a large, open, branched cluster at the ends of branches. The clusters are 2 to 4 across and flat-topped or round-topped, usually hemispherical.

The flowers are small and white or cream colored. There are 4 minute sepals, 4 small petals, 4 stamens with long filaments, and a well-developed style. They open after the leaves.

The fruits are berry-like, 5 16 to in diameter, and borne on a red stalk. It is green initially, turning to red, finally to bluish-black. It ripens in mid-summer.

 
Similar
Species

This plant often grows as a tree and has alternate leaves, distinguishing it from other dogwoods.


Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 24, 28.

Comments

 


Taxonomy

Family:

Cornaceae (dogwood)

 

Subfamily:

Cornoideae

 

Genus:

Cornus

 

Subgenus:

Swida (dogwoods)

 
Synonyms

Swida alternifolia

 
Common
Names

alternate-leaf dogwood

alternate-leaved dogwood

alternateleaf dogwood

green osier

pagoda dogwood

pigeon berry

pigeonberry


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

filament

The thread-like stalk of a stamen which supports the anther.

 

sepal

An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.

       

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Bill Reynolds


  pagoda dogwood   pagoda dogwood

       
       
       

MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos

   

Leaves

  pagoda dogwood   pagoda dogwood
       

Fall Color

  pagoda dogwood   pagoda dogwood
       
       

 

Camera

     

Slideshows

   
  Cornus alternifolia
Blake C. Willson
 
  Cornus alternifolia  
 
About

Pagoda Dogwood

 
     
  Pagoda Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)
Andree Reno Sanborn
 
  Pagoda Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)  

 

slideshow

     

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Other Videos

 
  Trees with Don Leopold - alternate-leaf dogwood
ESFNature
 
   
 
About

Published on Dec 12, 2013

Professor Don Leopold demonstrates the characteristics of the alternate-leaf dogwood.

Content produced by Christopher Baycura for the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF).

 
     
  Alternate Leaf Dogwood, Cornus alternifolia
MrILoveTheAnts
 
   
 
About

Published on May 9, 2012

Two or Three years ago I planted an Alternate Leaf Dogwood sapling because I read a short sentance or two about it in the book "Bringing Nature Home" by Doug Tallamy. He praises it for the berries it makes that birds love to eat, but I have to praise it for the flowers and assortment of pollinators it attracts! This is the first year it's flowered and I've never seen a tree do it so profusely. I have Viburnums that are taller than this that don't produce as many flowers. This was a good pollinator investment.

 
     

 

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