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Cornus obliqua

Cornus obliqua Raf.

Silky Dogwood, Pale Dogwood, Swamp Dogwood, Kinnikinnik

Cornaceae (Dogwood Family)

Synonym(s): Cornus amomum ssp. obliqua, Cornus amomum var. schuetzeana, Cornus purpusii

USDA Symbol: COOB9

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

This late-blooming dogwood is a wide, open, spreading shrub that usually grows 8-10 ft. tall. Clusters of small, creamy-white flowers are followed by clusters of blue berries. Twigs are grayish-green, becoming purplish-red.

The genus cornus is Latin for a horn.


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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Fruit Type: Drupe
Size Notes: Up to about 15 feet tall, often shorter.
Fruit: Black

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug


USA: AR , CT , DC , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SD , VT , WI , WV
Canada: ON
Native Distribution: N.B. to VA, w. to MN, e. KS & LA
Native Habitat: Swamps; damp thickets; wet prairies

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
Soil Description: Moist soils.
Conditions Comments: Not a specimen dogwood, but useful in poorly drained sites and for prevention of lake and stream bank erosion. Tolerates more alkaline soil.

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.


Description: Propagate by seed or cuttings. Silky dogwood is one of the easiest dogwoods to root. Semi-hardwood cuttings benefit from hormone treatment; softwood cutting do not require treatment.
Seed Collection: Collect fruit when it has turned black.
Seed Treatment: Remove seed from fruit and stratify 90 days.
Commercially Avail: yes

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Cornus obliqua in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Cornus obliqua in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Cornus obliqua


Record Modified: 2022-10-18
Research By: TWC Staff

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