Baugh, James C.
Cornus alternifolia L. f.
Alternateleaf dogwood, Alternate-leaf dogwood, Pagoda dogwood
Cornaceae (Dogwood Family)
or small tree
with short trunk and flat-topped, spreading crown of long, horizontal branches. Alternate-leaf dogwood or pogoda dogwood is a deciduous shrub
or small tree,
20-35 ft. tall, with decidedly horizontal branching. Branch ends are upturned. Bark
and twigs are green to reddish-purple. Wide, flat-topped clusters of fragrant, white-cream flowers become clusters of reddish-purple berries. Fall foliage is a dull maroon.
Unlike all other native
dogwoods, this species has alternate
rather than opposite
leaves. The name Pagoda Dogwood alludes to the flat-topped crown, with horizontal layers of branches. The bitter berrylike fruits of this and other dogwoods are consumed in quantities in fall and winter by wildlife.
The genus Cornus is Latin for a horn.
Image Gallery: 3 photo(s) available
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Shrub Leaf:
Dark Green Autumn Foliage:
Black, Blue Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: May , Jun
AL , AR , CT , DE , FL , GA , IL , IN , IA , KY , ME , MD , MA , MI , MN , MS , MO , NH , NJ , NY , NC , OH , PA , RI , SC , TN , VT , VA , WV , WI Canada: MB
, QC Native Distribution:
Nf. to MN & s. Man., s. to n. FL, AL & AR Native Habitat:
& mixed woods; rocky slopes; coastal plains; shrub
balds USDA Native Status: L48(N), CAN(N),
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
Medium Light Requirement:
Part Shade , Shade Soil Moisture:
Moist CaCO3 Tolerance:
Low Soil Description:
Cool, moist, acid, well-drained soils. Conditions Comments:
has infrequent disease and insect problems, however wind and ice damage are common. It is tolerant of poor soils and clay.
BenefitUse Wildlife: Attracts ground, water and songbirds and many mammals. The dry, bitter fruits are not edible by human standards, but they provide food for grouse, pheasants, wild turkeys and squirrels. (Kershaw)
Use Other: The roots, mixed with vinegar, yield a light to dark brown dye. (Kershaw)
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Birds , Butterflies
Larval Host: Spring Azure
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
is a larval host and/or nectar source for: