The best way to Identify Wild Dogwood Species

Dogwoods are usually flashy members of whatever vegetation community they belong to: Whether it’s the daring colour of the autumn vegetation or the showy petal-like bracts, these shrubs and trees can provide a patch of woods alive like few others. In the coastal ranges and valleys of north central California, two species are most likely to be undergone in wild Land rambles: the common red-osier dogwood (Cornus sericea) and the more sparsely dispersed Pacific dogwood (Cornus nuttallii) of the highlands.

Size and Form

Look in type and the stature of the shrub or tree. Pacific dogwood typically manifests as a little tree between 20 and 50-feet high. Red-osier dogwood is a medium-size shrub – generally no taller than 15 feet or so – and generally forms thickets.


Examine the leaves, if they’re present; equally Pacific and red-osier dogwood are deciduous. The distinctively layered leaf arrangement is a characteristic. Red-osier foliage consists of big, elliptical or usually lanceolate leaves up to 2″ broad and 2 to 4″ long, with an entire margin and tips. Leaves of the Pacific dogwood are related, although more regularly elliptical and some times greater; they change a rich crimson in autumn. In so notable, five or both species, the midvein is flanked by curving veins.


Note the stem coloration -osier dogwood. The daring red twigs of the species are its unique characteristic; the shrub was established by them aside even in cold temperatures barrenness. You are able to register red-osier dogwood thickets in a distance that is significant as a hazy band along margins, usually contrasting with yellow-stemmed willows.


Look for the blooms, in the event the season’s correct. Pacific dogwood boasts richly stunning “false petals” by means of of snow white leaf bracts; these encompass the correct flowers, which are minute and inconspicuous. Pacific dogwood usually blooms twice in a year, spring and after that again. Red-osier dogwood flowers are white and small, developing in clusters that are numerous.


Investigate the fresh fruit, if you’re analyzing the shrub or tree in autumn. Red-osier dogwood sports pale- drupes enclosing a twin-seeded stone; Pacific dogwood orange-ish or has reddish elliptical drupes in regards to a half- .

Ecological Context

Consider the plant’s habitat, that’s a helpful bit of supplementary details when when creating an identification. Pacific dogwood is a mountain-dweller: It’s usually within deep, shady coniferous forests at low to center elevations. Usually undergone independently, the dogwoods sprayed making use of fiery or their fake flowers in drop foliage stand out such shadowy, forests that are somber. Red-osier dogwood frequently flourishes in the fringes of marshes, swamps and lakes and also riparian thickets, frequently with ash, cottonwoods and willows.

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