Cornus racemosa

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: gray dogwood 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Cornaceae
Native Range: Eastern North America
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 10.00 to 15.00 feet
Spread: 10.00 to 15.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Rain Garden
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Good Fall
Attracts: Birds, Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer, Wet Soil

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Tolerates wide range of soil conditions, including both moist and somewhat dry soils. Tolerant of city air pollution. Will spread to form thickets if root suckers are not removed.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Cornus racemosa, commonly called gray dogwood, is a deciduous shrub which is native to Missouri and typically occurs in moist or rocky ground along streams, ponds, wet meadows, glade and prairie margins, thickets and rocky bluffs. It grows 10-15' tall and features white flowers borne in terminal racemes (hence the species name of racemosa) in late spring and grayish-green, elliptic to lance-shaped leaves (2-4" long). Foliage turns an interesting (but not always showy) dusky purplish red in fall. Terminal stems holding the flowers are distinctively red and provide interesting contrast to the clusters of small white berries which form after the flowers have dropped. Red stem color is more easily seen after the fruits are gone, and red color often persists into early winter.

Genus name comes from the Latin word cornu meaning horn in probable reference to the strength and density of the wood. Cornus is also the Latin name for cornelian cherry.

Specific epithet refers to the flowers being produced in racemes.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. The dogwood bud gall occurs on this species but is usually not a significant problem.

Garden Uses

Excellent when planted in groups and left alone to spread in naturalized areas or native plant gardens. Also effective in shrub borders, along streams or ponds or near buildings or when planted as a screen. Can be particularly useful because of its ability to grow in poor soils.