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Cornus drummondii (Roughleaf dogwood)
Marcus, Joseph A.

Cornus drummondii

Cornus drummondii C.A. Mey.

Roughleaf Dogwood, Drummond's Dogwood, Rough-leaf Dogwood

Cornaceae (Dogwood Family)

Synonym(s): Cornus priceae, Swida priceae

USDA Symbol: codr

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

Rough-leaf dogwood is a clumping shrub or small tree, usually to 15 ft., with flat-topped clusters of creamy-yellow flowers and hard, white fruit on reddish brown or gray branchlets. Leaves opposite on green twigs, petioled; blades up to 4 inches long, roughly ovate with an abruptly drawn-out tip and a rounded to tapering base, smooth margins, and prominent veins bending toward the tip; upper surface sometimes slightly rough to the touch, lower slightly velvety. The upper surface of the oval leaves is covered with rough hairs while the lower surface is softly pubescent. Fall color is purplish-red. Flowers about 1/4 inch wide, cream colored, with 4 petals, numerous in broad clusters at the ends of branches, appearing from April to early June. Fruit fleshy, rounded, white, about 1/4 inch wide.

This dogwood is easily recognized by the rough, upper leaf surfaces and white fruit. It spreads from root sprouts and provides cover for wildlife; various small birds, such as Bell's Vireo, nest in the thickets.

The genus cornus is Latin for a horn, The species name of this plant is named for Thomas Drummond, (ca. 1790-1835), naturalist, born in Scotland, around 1790. In 1830 he made a trip to America to collect specimens from the western and southern United States. In March, 1833, he arrived at Velasco, Texas to begin his collecting work in that area. He spent twenty-one months working the area between Galveston Island and the Edwards Plateau, especially along the Brazos, Colorado, and Guadalupe rivers. His collections were the first made in Texas that were extensively distributed among the museums and scientific institutions of the world. He collected 750 species of plants and 150 specimens of birds. Drummond had hoped to make a complete botanical survey of Texas, but he died in Havana, Cuba, in 1835, while making a collecting tour of that island.


From the Image Gallery

34 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Opposite
Fruit Type: Drupe
Size Notes: Up to about 20 feet tall, often shorter.
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

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


USA: AL , AR , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MI , MO , MS , NE , NY , OH , OK , PA , SD , TN , TX , WI
Canada: ON
Native Distribution: MS to TX, n. to Ont., OH, IL & NE
Native Habitat: Swamps & marshes; wet to dry woods & thickets; lake & stream banks; dry, limestone hills

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Cold Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Dry to moist, alkaline soils. Limestone-based, Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Acid-based, Calcareous.
Conditions Comments: This is a very adaptable plant and is found in nature in a variety of wet to dry situations. However it grows best in moist soils. The large showy clusters of tiny flowers provide nectar for many butterfly species. Many birds eat the white fruit clusters. Leaves turn red in the fall. Dogwoods can be afflicted with many disease and insect problems, but most of these are not serious if the plants are kept in good health. The trees colonize by suckers. Maintain this species as a tree by mowing or pulling surplus shoots.


Use Ornamental: Showy, Attractive, Blooms ornamental, Fall conspicuous, Erosion control, Bog or pond area
Use Wildlife: Nectar-insects, Fruit-birds
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Attracts: Birds , Butterflies
Nectar Source: yes
Deer Resistant: No

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: Sow seeds immediately after collection or scarify and stratify and sow the following spring. Cornus spp. will root from softwood or semi-hardwood cuttings taken in summer, hardwood cuttings in winter, and suckers and division and by layering in the early
Seed Treatment: Soak stones in sulfuric acid for 1-3 hours. Follow scarification with cold stratification for 60-120 days. Warm stratification may be substituted for the acid treatment.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

Mr. Smarty Plants says

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March 26, 2007
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Native plants for seasonal poor drainage
May 16, 2006
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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.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Fredericksburg Nature Center - Fredericksburg, TX
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
Patsy Glenn Refuge, c/o Wimberley Birding Society - Wimberley, TX
Nueces River Authority - Uvalde, TX
Texas Master Naturalists - Lost Pines Chapter - Bastrop, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
Jacob's Well Natural Area - Wimberley, TX
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX

Herbarium Specimen(s)

NPSOT 0605 Collected May 13, 1992 in Medina County by Harry Cliffe
NPSOT 0124 Collected June 20, 1991 in Bexar County by Lottie Millsaps
NPSOT 0654 Collected Jun 6 1992 in Medina County by Harry Cliffe

3 specimen(s) available in the Digital Herbarium

Wildflower Center Seed Bank

LBJWC-1347 Collected 2009-06-02 in Hays County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

1 collection(s) available in the Wildflower Center Seed Bank


Bibref 946 - Gardening with Prairie Plants: How to Create Beautiful Native Landscapes (2002) Wasowski, Sally
Bibref 355 - Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest (1991) Miller, G. O.
Bibref 354 - Native & Naturalized Woody Plants of Austin & the Hill Country (1981) Lynch, D.
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender
Bibref 286 - Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country (1989) Enquist, M.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 3 - Flora of North America (2014) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1994 VOL. 11, NO.6 - Wildflower Center Featured Non-Profit in Neiman Marcus Christmas Book, Dana Leav...

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-03-22
Research By: TWC Staff, GDB

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