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Cornus sericea ‘Baileyi’ (photo courtesy of Denver Botanic Gardens)
Cornus sericea ‘Baileyi’ (photo courtesy of Denver Botanic Gardens)

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Zones A1-A3, 1-9, 14-16, 32-45
Partial SunNo Sun
Partial, Shade
Regular Water

Cornus canadensis

Ground covers, Perennials, Decorative fruit or berries


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 canadensis

Native from Northern California to Alaska and eastward. Difficult but possible to grow in Zones 8, 9, 14–16. Groundcover 6–9 in. high, found in the wild under trees by lakes and streams. Creeping rootstocks send up stems topped by whorls of oval or roundish, 1–2-in.-long, deep green leaves that turn yellow in fall, die down in winter. In late spring or early summer, plants bear small, compact clusters of tiny flowers surrounded by (usually) four oval, 1/2–3/4-in., pure white bracts. Clusters of small, shiny red fruits follow in late summer.

Best performance in part or full shade in cool, moist climates, in acid soil with generous amounts of organic matter. Set out small plants from pots about 1 ft. apart. Small rooted pieces gathered from the woods may not establish easily. Excellent with rhododendrons, ferns, trilliums, lilies.

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