IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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This native woody shrub is 8-15' tall; it has a rounded shape and branches frequently. The bark of the trunk and larger branches is gray, while smaller branches are brown and smooth. Young twigs are hairless and red, becoming dark reddish brown with age. The pith of the twigs is white. The opposite leaves are up to 3½" long and 2" across; they are ovate to ovate-lanceolate and smooth along their margins. Upper leaf surfaces are medium to dark green and hairless, while lower leaf surfaces are a slightly lighter shade of green and hairless to nearly hairless. The slender petioles of the leaves are up to 1" long and hairless to nearly hairless. Like the leaves of other Cornus spp. (Dogwoods), the lateral veins of the leaves curve away from the petioles. Young branches bear cymes (or flat-headed panicles) of white flowers about 1½–3" across. The stalks of each cyme are hairless. Each flower has 4 white petals, a tubular green calyx with 4 tiny teeth, 4 stamens, and a pistil with a central style. The petals are linear-lanceolate in shape. The flowers have an unpleasant odor. The blooming period occurs during late spring to early summer and lasts about 2-3 weeks. The flowers are replaced by 2-seeded fleshy drupes. At maturity, each drupe is about ¼" across and it is pale blue to blue. Each large seed (stone) is globoid in shape and fairly smooth. The root system consists of woody branching taproot; vegetative offsets are sometimes produced from underground runners. During the fall, the leaves assume attractive red-burgundy to purple colors. Cultivation


Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers


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