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Cornus kousa
Cornus kousa

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Zone
Zones 3B, 4-9, 14-20
Partial Sun
Partial
Regular WaterMinimal Water
Moderate, Minimal

Cornus nuttallii

PACIFIC DOGWOOD, WESTERN DOGWOOD
Cornaceae
Deciduous, Trees, Decorative fruit or berries, Flowers

CORNUS

All dogwoods offer attractive foliage and blossoms; some have spectacular fruit or winter bark. Leaves of many types turn brilliant colors in fall. What appear to be flower petals in many dogwoods are actually bracts—petal-like modified leaves. These surround the inconspicuous true flowers.

Cornus nuttallii, photo courtesy of Andrea Gómez Romero
Cornus nuttallii, photo courtesy of Andrea Gómez Romero

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Cornus nuttallii

Native to Pacific Northwestand Northern California. To 50 ft. tall, 20 ft. wide, with one trunk or several. Gray branches in pleasing horizontal pattern. Spectacular when it shows off its gleaming white bracts on bare branches in spring; there is often a second flowering in late summer, when tree is in full leaf. Flowers are ringed by four to eight large (to 3 in. long), rounded or pointed bracts; they may be white or pink-tinged white. Oval, 3–5-in. green leaves turn yellow, red,and pink in fall. Decorative redfruit in knoblike clusters in fall.

Dislikes routine garden watering, fertilizing, pruning; injury to tender bark provides entrance for insects and diseases. For better chance of success, giveexceptionally good drainage and infrequent summer water, and plant under high-branching trees so that bark will not sunburn. In Northwest, however, planting under larger trees is not advisable. C. nuttallii is very susceptible to anthracnose in this region; a location under larger trees creates conditions that favor the disease—reduced aircirculation and shadiness thatextend time for wet foliage to dry.

‘Colrigo Giant’ is vigorous and heavy trunked, with low-branching but erect habit; bears profusion of 6-in. flower heads. ‘Goldspot’ has leaves splashed with creamyyellow; because it is grafted, itblooms from an early age (when only 2 ft. high). ‘Starlight’ is a hybrid between C. nuttallii and C. kousa, with an upright habit to 30 ft. tall and 20 ft. wide. Blooms are white; fall leaf color is red. Resists anthracnose and powdery mildew. ‘Venus’, another cross between these two species,grows 25 ft. tall and 20 ft. wide, with very large (6 in.) white blooms and few fruits.

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