Cornus alba
Common name: 
Tatarian Dogwood
Tartarian Dogwood
KOR-nus AHL-ba
Cornus sericea subsp. sericea
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Broadleaf deciduous shrub, 8-10 ft (2.3-3 m) high, spreading to 5-10 ft (1.5-3 m), multi-stemmed, upright in youth and arching with age, suckers form large colonies.  Stems are greenish-red in summer, turn blood-red in fall and winter, prominent lenticels.  Difficult to separate C. alba and C. sericea on winter characteristics.  Leaves opposite, simple, ovate to oblong-lanceolate, 5-11 cm long, usually rounded at base, margin entire, dark green and somewhat rugose (wrinkled) above, waxy bloom (glaucous) below, 5-6 pairs of veins.  Flowers perfect, small, yellowish white, in 2-2.5 cm flat-topped clusters (cymes).  Fruit, white, globose, stone (seed) is higher than wide.
  • Sun to part shade.  Vigorous.  Adapts to many soil types, best in moist, well-drained.  Prune out part of the old wood each year to encourage more colorful new growth.
  • Hardy to USDA Zone 3    Native to north central and eastern Asia (Siberia, Mancuria, to nothern Korea), in part areas inhabited by Tatars or Tartars.
  • Taxonomic note:  Cornus alba and all its variation (var.) are no longer taxonomically accepted designations.  They are now lumped under Cornus sericea subsp. sericea.  Additionally, Siberian Dogwood, previously classified as C. alba var. sibirica and Redosier Dogwood previously C. stolonifera or C. sericea are both designated C. sericea subsp. sericea.  Western Dogwood, i.e., C. occidentalis, C. stolonifera var. occidentalis, C. stolonifera var. californica, etc. is now designated C. sericea subsp. occidentalis.
  • Common cultivars include:
    • 'Argenteo-marginata' (Variegated Dogwood)  -  variegated leaves, broad white margins, carmine-red in fall
    • 'Elegantissima' (Variegated Dogwood)  -  apparently the same as 'Argenteo-marginata'
    • 'Gouchaultii' (Mottled Dogwood  -  variegated leaves, with yellow and rose margins, finally partly white, with green and rose centers.  Some consider it the same as 'Spaethii' (Hillier Nurseries, 1989), however, Dirr (1998) considers it more vigorous and silvery than 'Spaethii'.
    • 'Hessei' (Siberian Dogwood, Yellow-stem Dogwood)  -  small upright form, leaves crowded and crinkled, purple fall color.
    • Ivory Halo™ ('Bailhalo')  -  variegated, a selection of 'Argenteo-marginata', green center and a whitish leaf margin
    • 'Sibirica' (Siberian Dogwood)  -  branches light coral-red, leaves more broadly oval than species, fruit bluish
  • cornus: the Latin name for Cornus mas.  alba: white, the fruit
Click image to enlarge
  • plant habit, winter

    plant habit, winter

  • branches, winter

    branches, winter

  • plant habit, spring flowering

    plant habit, spring flowering

  • plant habit, summer flowering

    plant habit, summer flowering

  • flowers and leaves

    flowers and leaves

  • fruit, deveoping and mature

    fruit, deveoping and mature