Pacific dogwood Cornaceae Cornus
nuttallii Audubon ex Torr. & A. Gray symbol: CONU4
Leaf: Opposite, simple, deciduous, ovate to obovate or elliptical, 3 to 5 inches long, entire to wavy margins, green above and paler green below, distinctively arcuate veins, turn brilliant red in autumn. Often occur at the ends of branchlets, appearing to be whorled.
Flower: Perfect; flowers are actually very tiny and borne in a dense, rounded head; they are greenish-white and lack petals. The head, however, is surrounded by 4 or 6 large, showy, bright white to creamy white bracts (commonly called petals).
Fruit: Flattened, red berry-like drupes borne in a tight cluster.
Twig: Young twigs are slender, green, and minutely pubescent; older twigs become dark reddish purple and smooth; leaf buds small and pointed; flower buds considerably larger.
Bark: Thin and gray, smooth when young but breaking into rectangular scales and blocks with age.
Form: Small trees, occasionally reaching 60 feet but usually much smaller (20 to 30 feet). Rounded crowns in the open but irregular crowns in the understory. Branches spread horizontally and dip between nodes, making pleasing series of arcs in the branches.
Looks like: red-osier dogwood - flowering dogwood - kousa dogwood
Additional Range Information: Cornus nuttallii is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting Pacific 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