Virginia Tech Dendrology

alternate-leaf dogwood Cornaceae Cornus alternifolia L. f. Listen to the Latin play symbol: COAL2
Leaf: Alternate, simple, oval to ovate, 2 1/2 to 5 inches long, arcuate venation, leaves tend to cluster near branch tips so they may appear whorled or opposite, margins may be somewhat wavy, green above and paler below.
Flower: Species is monoecious; small, white, in flat-topped clusters, 2 to 4 inches across, appearing in late spring.
Fruit: Bluish-black drupe in clusters, (3/8 inch in diameter); fruit stalks turn reddish, ripen in late summer.
Twig: Slender, red to dark purple, pith white; terminal buds small (1/4 inch long), ovoid with two or three scales showing, leaf scars small and narrow; dead twigs turn a yellow-orange.
Bark: Smooth, dark green, streaky; eventually turns light brown and develops shallow fissures.
Form: Large shrub, may occasionally reach 30 feet tall; slender branches often horizontal with the ground; developing a flat-topped crown.
Looks like: flowering dogwood - roughleaf dogwood - silky dogwood - red-osier dogwood
leaf flower fruit twig bark form1 map
Additional Range Information: Cornus alternifolia is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting alternate-leaf dogwood.
More Information: Fall Color
External Links: USDAFS Additional Silvics - USDA Plants Database
All material © 2017 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson