Broadleaf, deciduous multi-stemmed shrub, spreading habit, upright slender stems, bright red to dark red (especially attractive in winter), 7-10 ft (2-3 m) high or more. Leaves simple, opposite, ovate to oblong-ovate, rounded at the base, 2-5 inches long and 1-2.5 inches wide (5-12.5 cm x 2.5-6 cm), medium to dark green above, reddish to purplish in fall. Flowers small, dull white in flat-topped clusters, mostly borne in late spring to early summer. Fruit white, globose, single, smooth stone.
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 (stems).
Hardy to USDA Zone 2 Native to the northern latitudes of North America as far south as Virginia, southern California, and Chihuahua, Mexico. It is also found in Siberia, northern Korea, and northern China (formerly considered the native range of Cornus alba).
Taxonomic Note: In the past, the redstem dogwoods, Redosier and Tatarian, were classified as separate species, namely Cornus stolonifera (later C. sericea) and Cornus alba. The Siberian dogwood was classified as Cornus sibirica or as a cultivar of Cornus alba. It proved difficult to separate Redosier and Tatarian dogwoods using winter characteristics and their differences in general are minimal. Both species, as well as the Siberian dogwood, are now included in Cornus sericea subsp. sericea.
To separate the subspecies sericea from its “western version”, the Western or Creek dogwood, which was known as Cornus stolonifera var. occidentalis or simply Cornus occidentalis, this western form in now classified as a separate subspecies, namely Cornus sericea subsp. occidentalis.
- Cornus sericea
- Cornus sericea subsp. sericea: Redosier, Tatarian, Siberian dogwoods
- Cornus sericea subsp. occidentalis: Western dogwood
- Note: The name of selections and cultivars of these subspecies in the nursery trade are often given without the subspecies designation. Example: Cornus sericea ‘Flaviramia’
redosier: this common name apparently is in reference to the resemblance of the reddish stems to those of some willows called osiers, used in basketry (e.g., Salix purpurea). Thin redosier stems can be used in weavings and as basket rims.
sericea: silky, apparently a reference to fine hairs found on the upper surface of young leaves and on new twigs.
- Common cultivars:
- 'Argenteo-marginata' (Variegated Dogwood) - variegated leaves, broad white margins, carmine-red in fall
- 'Elegantissima' (Variegated Dogwood) - apparently the same as 'Argenteo-marginata'
- ‘Flaviramera’ (Golden Twig Dogwood) - has greenish yellow stems in winter
- '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
- ‘Kelseyi’(Kelsey Dogwood) - low growing, thin stems, young ones bright red in winter