Cornus amomum
Common Name: dogwood 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Cornaceae
Native Range: Eastern North America
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 6.00 to 12.00 feet
Spread: 6.00 to 12.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Yellowish white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Hedge, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Birds
Fruit: Showy
Tolerate: Deer, Erosion, Wet Soil, Black Walnut


Grow in average, medium to wet, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist, organically rich, slightly acidic soils in part shade. Tolerates close to full shade. Benefits from a 2-4” mulch which will help keep roots cool and moist in summer. Branches that touch the ground may root at the nodes. When left alone, this shrub may spread to form thickets.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Cornus amomum, commonly called silky dogwood, is a medium-sized deciduous shrub that is typically found in moist lowland areas, swamp borders, floodplains, shrub wetlands, and along streams and ponds in Eastern North America (New Foundland to Ontario south to Missouri, Mississippi and Florida). Twigs and leaf undersides have silky hairs, hence the common name. This dogwood typically grows to 6-12’ tall with an open-rounded form. Tiny yellowish-white flowers (showy petal-like white bracts are absent) in flat-topped clusters (cymes to 2.5” across) bloom in late spring to early summer. Flowers give way to attractive berry-like drupes that change from white to blue as they ripen in late summer (August). Birds are attracted to the fruit. Oval to elliptic, medium green leaves (2-5” long) have conspicuous veins. Attractive fall color is usually absent. Twigs are purplish brown in spring, and have a distinctive brown pith. Genus name comes from the Latin word for horn (reference to hard wood). This shrub is also commonly called swamp dogwood in reference to habitat and kinnkinnik (tobacco) in reference to a prior use of shrub bark by Native Americans as tobacco.

Genus name comes from the Latin word cornus meaning "horn", possibly in reference to the strength and density of the wood. Cornus is also the Latin name for cornelian cherry (Cornus mas). May also be related to the Greek kerasos meaning "cherry".


No serious insect or disease problems. Plants are susceptible to scale. Additional insect pests include borers and leaf miner. Infrequent disease problems include leaf spot, crown canker, blights, root rot and powdery mildew.


Good shrub for moist to wet areas of the landscape. Not overly ornamental. Somewhat unkempt for placement in prominent areas. Good selection for moist woodlands, naturalized areas, along streams/ponds or for erosion control.