Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

This is a multistemmed shrub up to 12' tall. The coloration of branch bark varies with age and the local ecotype
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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Range and Habitat in Illinois

The native Swamp Dogwood is occasional throughout Illinois (see Distribution Map). Habitats include openings in moist woodlands, swamps, soggy thickets, wet prairies, edges of marshes, fens, and interdunal wetlands. While interdunal wetlands are always sandy, the remaining habitats can be either sandy or non-sandy. Occasionally this shrub is cultivated as a landscape plant, but it requires more moisture than most cultivated shrubs.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Cornus purpusii Koehne:
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
  • Gleason, H. A. 1968. The Choripetalous Dicotyledoneae. vol. 2. 655 pp. In H. A. Gleason Ill. Fl. N. U.S. (ed. 3). New York Botanical Garden, New York.   http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1704 External link.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Cornus obliqua Raf.:
Canada (North America)
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Cornus amomum subsp. obliqua (Raf.) J.S. Wilson:
Canada (North America)
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

The native Swamp Dogwood is occasional throughout Illinois (see Distribution Map). Habitats include openings in moist woodlands, swamps, soggy thickets, wet prairies, edges of marshes, fens, and interdunal wetlands. While interdunal wetlands are always sandy, the remaining habitats can be either sandy or non-sandy. Occasionally this shrub is cultivated as a landscape plant, but it requires more moisture than most cultivated shrubs.
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Comments: C. obliqua is native to N. America and occurs in swamps, marshes, wet woods or thickets, and river banks. Wilson (1965) considers C. obliqua a subspecies of C. amomum. The two subspecies occur in similar habitats, but C. amomum subsp. obliqua tends towards more open areas than C. amomum subsp. amomum (Wilson 1965).

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Associations

Flower-Visiting Insects of Pale Dogwood in Illinois

Cornus obliqua (Pale Dogwood)
(Bees suck nectar or collect pollen; a bee-fly feeds on pollen, otherwise flies suck nectar; other insects suck nectar. Robertson refers to this shrub as Cornus amomum, which is an uncommon species that is restricted to extreme southern Illinois. However, it is morely likely Cornus obliqua which has a similar appearance and was considered a variety of Cornus amomum at the time; one observation is from Krombein et al. as indicated below, otherwise observations are from Robertson)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera sn cp fq; Apidae (Bombini): Bombus griseocallis sn, Bombus pensylvanica sn cp; Anthophoridae (Anthophorini): Anthophora abrupta sn; Anthophoridae (Ceratinini): Ceratina dupla dupla sn cp fq; Anthophoridae (Eucerini): Synhalonia rosae sn; Anthophoridae (Nomadini): Nomada affabilis sn fq; Anthophoridae (Xylocopini): Xylocopa virginica sn cp; Megachilidae (Megachilini): Megachile brevis brevis sn

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Agapostemon sericea sn cp fq, Agapostemon virescens sn cp, Augochlorella aurata sn cp, Augochlorella striata sn, Augochloropsis metallica metallica sn, Halictus ligatus sn cp, Halictus parallelus sn, Lasioglossum forbesii sn, Lasioglossum pectoralis sn cp, Lasioglossum pilosus pilosus sn cp, Lasioglossum pruinosus sn, Lasioglossum tegularis sn, Lasioglossum versatus sn cp fq; Colletidae (Hylaeinae): Hylaeus illinoisensis sn, Hylaeus mesillae sn; Andrenidae (Andreninae): Andrena crataegi sn, Andrena cressonii sn cp fq, Andrena fragilis cp olg (Kr), Andrena heraclei sn cp fq, Andrena hippotes, Andrena imitatrix imitatrix, Andrena miserabilis bipunctata sn, Andrena nigrifrons sn cp, Andrena sayi sn cp fq

Wasps
Sphecidae (Crabroninae): Lestica confluentus, Oxybelus emarginatus, Oxybelus mexicanus; Sphecidae (Philanthinae): Cerceris finitima; Sphecidae (Sphecinae): Ammophila kennedyi, Ammophila nigricans, Isodontia apicalis; Vespidae: Polistes fuscata; Vespidae (Eumeninae): Euodynerus annulatus, Euodynerus foraminatus fq, Euodynerus leucomelas, Leionotus ziziae (Rb, MS), Leptochilus republicanus, Stenodynerus anormis, Stenodynerus oculeus

Flies
Syrphidae: Allograpta obliqua sn, Chrysogaster antitheus sn, Eristalis dimidiatus sn, Eristalis stipator sn, Eristalis transversus sn, Mallota bautias sn, Myolepta nigra sn, Orthonevra nitida sn icp, Orthonevra pictipennis sn, Sphaerophoria contiqua sn, Syritta pipiens sn, Toxomerus marginatus sn; Bombyliidae: Anthrax albofasciatus fp; Conopidae: Zodion fulvifrons sn; Tachinidae: Archytas analis sn, Archytas aterrima sn, Belvosia bifasciata sn, Leschenaultia leucophrys sn, Linnaemya comta sn, Phasia purpurascens sn; Sarcophagidae: Helicobia rapax sn, Ravinia anxia sn; Calliphoridae: Calliphora vicina sn, Lucilia illustris sn, Lucilia sericata sn, Pollenia rudis sn; Muscidae: Neomyia cornicina sn; Anthomyiidae: Calythea nigricans sn, Calythea pratincola sn, Delia platura sn fq; Fanniidae: Fannia manicata sn fq

Butterflies
Nymphalidae: Limenitis archippus, Limenitis arthemis astyanax, Phyciodes tharos, Speyeria cybele, Vanessa atalanta, Vanessa virginiensis; Lycaenidae: Celastrina argiolus, Lycaena hyllus; Papilionidae: Battus philenor, Papilio cresphontes, Papilio glaucus

Skippers
Hesperiidae: Epargyreus clarus, Polites peckius, Polites themistocles, Polites zabulon

Moths
Ctenuchidae: Cisseps fulvicollis

Beetles
Curculionidae: Odontocorynus scutellum-album; Mordellidae: Mordella marginata icp

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Faunal Associations

The nectar and pollen of the flowers attract many insects. These floral visitors include honeybees, bumblebees, Andrenid bees (Andrena spp.), Halictid bees (Halictus spp., Lasioglossum spp., etc.), various wasps, Syrphid flies, Tachinid flies, flesh flies (Sarcophagidae), blow flies (Calliphoridae), various butterflies, skippers, and other insects. Swamp Dogwood and other dogwood shrubs (Cornus spp.) are host plants of many insects that feed on their leaves, bore through their wood, suck on their plant juices, etc. The caterpillars of Celastrina argiolus (Spring/Summer Azure) feed on the flowers and buds of dogwood shrubs. Moth caterpillars that feed on these shrubs include Synanthedon scitula (Dogwood Borer), Bomolocha bijugalis (Dimorphic Bomolocha), Probole nyssaria (Dogwood Probole), Antispila cornifoliella (Heliozelid Moth sp.), and Caloptilia belfragella (Gracillariid Moth sp.); the caterpillars of the last two moths are leaf-miners. Other insect feeders include aphids (Aphis caliginosa, Aphis cornifoliae), leafhoppers (Erythroneura corni, Erythroneura ontari, Erythroneura rubrella), Clastoptera proteus (Dogwood Spittlebug), plant bugs (Plagiognathus cornicola, Lygocoris communis), Calligrapha philadelphica (Dogwood Leaf Beetle) and other leaf beetles, the larvae of Oberea tripunctata (Dogwood Twig Borer) and other long-horned beetles, the thrips Scirtothrips niveus, and the larvae of of Macremphytus testaceus (Dogwood Sawfly). See the Insect Table for a more complete listing of these species. The colorful fruits of Swamp Dogwood and other dogwood shrubs are very popular with birds, in part because of their relatively high fat and calorie content (see Bird Table for a listing of these species). Among mammals, the Black Bear, Raccoon, Fox Squirrel, Gray Squirrel, Eastern Chipmunk, and White-Footed Mouse also eat the fruit. White-Tailed Deer and Elk occasionally browse on the twigs and foliage, while the Beaver gnaws on the wood of shrubs that grow near bodies of water. There are also records of some turtles eating the fallen leaves, fruit, or seeds in wetland areas (Sotala & Kirkpatrick, 1973; Ernst et al., 1994); these species include Chelydra serpentina (Snapping Turtle), Emys blandingii (Blanding's Turtle), and Trachemys scripta (Slider).
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General Ecology

Populations: Dogwood invasion of grasslands from swales, ravines, and woodland edges of floodplains is accelerated by vegetative reproduction and tolerance to wind, full exposure or partial shade, and dry soils (Pound and Clements 1900, Costello 1931, Steyermark 1940, Albertson and Weaver 1945, Weaver 1965, Duxbury 1982).

As density within a dogwood thicket increases, groundcover vegetation decreases and may become entirely absent (Aikman 1928, Weaver 1965). Annual weeds sometimes grow beneath dogwood (Duxbury 1982, Nyboer pers. comm. 1983), and bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa) may invade dogwood thickets (Albertson and Weaver 1945, Aikman 1928). Dogwood may persist and sometimes dominate the understory of woods (Duxbury 1982).

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Life History and Behavior

Reproduction

Sexual reproduction: These dogwoods probably reach sexual maturity in three to four years. There is one viable seed per drupe in all four species (Stephens 1973).

Seed dispersal: Seeds are dispersed by a variety of birds, including crows, vireos, redheaded woodpeckers and bluebirds (Ridley 1930), autumn through winter (Stephens 1973). Availability of perching sites may be important in dispersal.

Germination: Germination usually occurs in the spring following seed production and dispersal to a favorable site, but may be delayed a year due to a dormant embryo, hard pericarp (Brinkman 1974), and possible chemical inhibition by the pulp (Goodwin 1948). Mechanical and chemical scarification and stratification techniques are used commercially to stimulate germination in dogwood (Brinkman 1974).

Seedling establishment: Some Cornus spp. shrub seedlings are tolerant of variable light intensities, and may become established in woodland edges, within woods, or in open areas (Gatherum et al. 1963, Smith 1975). Seedlings may invade grasslands alone or with other woody plants (McClain pers. comm.).

Asexual reproduction: C. drummondii, C. racemosa, C. stolonifera and C. obliqua reproduce most successfully by vegetative growth following seedling establishment. Thickets may expand by adventitious underground shoot growth or rhizomatous growth (Stephens 1973, Wilson 1965, Smith 1975).

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Cornus obliqua

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Cornus obliqua

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 4
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: T5 - Secure

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

The preference is full or partial sun, wet to moist conditions, and either sandy or non-sandy soil that contains significant organic matter.
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Treated as the species Cornus obliqua, distinct from the species Cornus amomum, in Kartesz (1999) and various other sources; has also been treated as a subspecies (ssp. obliqua) or a variety (var. schuetzeana) of a more broadly defined Cornus amomum. LEM 23Aug01.

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