Cornus nuttallii Audubon ex Torr. & A. Gray
Pacific Dogwood, Pacific Flowering Dogwood, Mountain Dogwood
Cornaceae (Dogwood Family)
USDA Symbol: CONU4
Tree with dense, conical or rounded crown of often horizontal branches and with beautiful white flower clusters. This is the west coast edition of Cornus florida. It is a 15-40 ft., sometimes taller, single- or multi-trunked tree or shrub with a spreading crown and large, showy, creamy white blossoms sometimes flushed with pink. Graceful, horizontal-tiered branching; orange to red fruits; and yellow-orange, fall foliage are other landscape attributes. Pacific flowering dogwood is deciduous.
Pacific Dogwood is one of the most handsome native ornamental trees on the Pacific Coast, with very showy flowers and fruit. The head of flowers with surrounding, petal-like bracts resembles a huge flower and is commonly so called. The "flower" is larger than that of the eastern Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida L.), usually having 6 bracts instead of 4. John James Audubon (1780-1851), the American ornithologist and artist, who painted this tree in his famous work Birds of America, named it for its collector, Thomas Nuttall (1786-1859), the British-American botanist and ornithologist.
The genus cornus is Latin for a horn.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Fruit Type: Drupe
Size Notes: Up to about 60 feet tall, often much shorter.
Autumn Foliage: yes
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink , Yellow , Green
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul
DistributionUSA: CA , ID , OR , WA
Native Distribution: Throughout CA, n. to B.C. & w. to ID
Native Habitat: Mt. woods & stream banks between 3000-6000 ft.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: None
Soil Description: Well-drained, rich soil.
Conditions Comments: This species appreciates summer humidity. Well-established trees suffer from extra summer watering. The tree is easy prey to a fungus disease if it has been wounded, so a buffer against lawnmower damage should be provided.
BenefitUse Wildlife: Fruits attract water, ground and songbirds, squirrels and deer.
Use Other: Native Americans used branches in basketry.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
PropagationDescription: Sow seeds outdoors immediately after collection or stratify and sow the following spring. The fleshy coat should be removed. This species will root from softwood or semi-hardwood cuttings taken in summer, but success is not as high as with the eastern f
Seed Treatment: Stratify for 30-60 days at 41 degrees.
Commercially Avail: yes
Find Seed or Plants
Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.
Mr. Smarty Plants says
Advice on planting Korean dogwood (Cornus kousa) in Vancouver, BC
October 26, 2007
I live in the Vancouver, BC - Pacific Northwest area and the front of our yard faces south to southwest. If I were to plant a tree other than an evergreen, would the Korean Dogwood thrive in this are...
view the full question and answer
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
BibliographyBibref 1218 - Tending the Wild: Native American Knowledge and the Management of California's Natural Resources (2006) Anderson, M. Kat
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 3 - Flora of North America (2014) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Cornus nuttallii in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Cornus nuttallii in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Cornus nuttallii
MetadataRecord Modified: 2022-10-03
Research By: TWC Staff