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Pagoda Dogwood-Wisconsin Native Plamt

Cornus alternifolia


Pagoda Dogwood


Benefits:    Bees, Birds, Butterflies
Bloom Time:    May, June
Sun Shade:    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade
Zones:    5
Soil Conditions:    Loam
Soil Moisture:    Medium, Moist, Wet
Color:    White, Yellow
Fragrance:    Yes
Height:    15 to 25 feet
Spacing:    15 feet


Pagoda Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)is a small deciduous tree or large multi-stemmed shrub that typically grows 15-25 feet tall with distinctive tiered/layered horizontal branching which is upward-turned at the tips. It is native to both moist and dry forests, forest margins, stream banks and fields. Small, fragrant, yellowish-white flowers bloom in flattened cymes (each to 2 ½ inches across) in late spring (May-June). Flowers give way to bluish-black fruits (drupes) on red stalks. Fruits mature in late summer. Elliptic-ovate, medium green leaves (to 3-5 inches long) turn reddish-purple often tinted yellow or green in fall. Although the leaves of most species of dogwood are opposite, those of pagoda dogwood are alternate, hence the specific epithet and often used common name of alternate-leaf dogwood. The flowers have a pleasant fragrance. The root system is woody and branching. This shrub reproduces by reseeding itself.

Habitats include mesic deciduous woodlands, mixed woodlands (both coniferous & deciduous trees are present), woodland borders and openings, thickets, and shaded or partially shaded banks of streams. This shrub is normally found in high quality natural areas. It is often cultivated as an ornamental landscape plant.

Best grown in acidic, organically rich, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Some afternoon shade is appreciated in hot summer climates. Best performance occurs in cool summer climates. Provide consistent moisture and mulch root zone.

Plant Care and Notes:

  Growth and development is rather slow.

  The berries are a popular food source of many birds.