Thelycrania sericea (L.) Dandy
Swida sericea (L.) Holub
Cornus occidentalis (Torr. & A.Gray) Coville
Swida occidentalis (Torr. & A.Gray) Soják
Cornus alba occidentalis (Torr. & A.Gray) B.Boivin
Cornus stolonifera Michx.
Cornus purshii G.Don
Cornus californica C.A.Mey.
Cornus candissima Bisch.
Cornus pubescens Torr.
Cornus baileyi J.M.Coult. & W.H.Evans
Cornus alba behnschii Schelle
Cornus alba coloradensis Koehne
Cornus alba elata Koehne
Cornus alba elongata Koehne
Cornus alba flaviramea Späth ex Koehne
Cornus alba nitida Koehne
Cornus nelsonii Rose
Swida interior Rydb.
Cornus alba angustipetala Wolf
Cornus alba splendens Demcker
Cornus alba baileyi (J.M.Coult. & W.H.Evans) Wangerin
Cornus alba stolonifera (Michx.) Wangerin
Swida californica (C.A.Mey.) Abrams
Cornus instolonea A.Nelson
Ossea instolonea (A.Nelson) Nieuwl. & Lunell
Cornus interior (Rydb.) N.Petersen
Swida instolonea (A.Nelson) Rydb.
Ossea interior (Rydb.) Lunell
Swida baileyi (J.M.Coult. & W.H.Evans) Rydb.
Swida stolonifera (Michx.) Rydb.
Thelycrania baileyi (J.M.Coult. & W.H.Evans) Pojark.
Thelycrania californica (C.A.Mey.) Pojark.
Thelycrania instolonea (A.Nelson) Pojark.
Thelycrania interior (Rydb.) Pojark.
Thelycrania interna Pojark.
Thelycrania stolonifera (Michx.) Pojark.
Cornus alba azurea (Lepage) B.Boivin
Cornus alba californica (C.A.Mey.) B.Boivin
Cornus alba interior (Rydb.) B.Boivin
Swida alba stolonifera (Michx.) Tzvelev
Swida alba flaviramea (Späth ex Koehne) P.D.Sell
Common Name: Red Osier Dogwood
Cornus sericea is a deciduous shrub that produces a cluster of stems up to 4 metres tall. This species does not have a rhizomatous rootstock, though branches occasionally arch to the ground and form new roots at the leaf nodes, thus forming a thicket of growth[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials. It is sometimes grown as an ornamental where it can be used as a ground cover.
The plant is considered to have invasive tendencies in parts of Europe - it is on the alert list for Belgium and Switzerland and there are almost 20 instances in Ireland where the plant has become established in the wild, mainly in wetland woods, where it may threaten biodiversity[
N. America - Alaska to Newfoundland, south to California and central Mexico, New Mexico and Virginia
Shores and thickets[
]. Wet meadows, thickets, edges of mesic upland forests, fens, marshes, swamps, stream banks, lake shores, river banks; at elevations up to 2,500 metres[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Cornus sericea is a very cold-hardy tree, tolerating temperatures down to around -40°c when dormant
Succeeds in full sun and also in partial shade[
]. An easily grown plant, it does best in an organically rich, medium to wet soil, though it is tolerant of a wide range of soils, including swampy or boggy conditions[
], acid soils and shallow chalk[
]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Succeeds in poorly drained soils[
]. Established plants are fairly drought tolerant[
Plants can commence flowering at the age of 3 - 4 years, when about 100cm tall[
A rampant suckering shrub[
]. This species is not stoloniferous; evidently, branch tips infrequently arching to the ground and rooting at the nodes have led to confusion regarding the growth habit[
A number of cultivars have been developed for their ornamental value[
Although pruning is not required, many gardeners choose to remove 20 - 25% of the oldest stems in early spring of each year in order to stimulate the growth of new stems which will display the best colour in winter[
This species is closely allied to Cornus alba[
The flowers are very attractive to bees[
Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[
Fruit - raw or cooked[
]. Bitter and unpalatable according to some reports[
], it was mixed with other fruits such as juneberries (Amelanchier spp) and then dried for winter use by native North Americans[
]. The fruit can cause nausea[
]. The white, globose or subglobose fruit is 6 - 10mm in diameter, the thin layer of flesh enclosing a single large seed[
]. No more details are given, but the seeds are quite small and woody, looking rather less than edible[
An edible oil is obtained from the seed[
Red osier dogwood was widely employed by several native North American Indian tribes who valued it especially for its astringent and tonic bark, using it both internally and externally to treat diarrhoea, fevers, skin problems etc[
]. It is little used in modern herbalism.
The bark and the root bark are analgesic, astringent, febrifuge, purgative, slightly stimulant and tonic[
]. Drying the bark removes its tendency to purge[
]. A decoction has been used in the treatment of headaches, diarrhoea, coughs, colds and fevers[
Native Americans and early settlers smoked the inner bark, stem scrapings, and leaves, which have a slightly narcotic effect[
Externally, the decoction has been used as a wash for sore eyes, styes and other infections and also to treat skin complaints such as poison ivy rash and ulcers[
]. The bark shavings have been applied as a dressing on wounds to stop the bleeding[
]. A poultice of the soaked inner bark, combined with ashes, has been used to alleviate pain[
The plant is said to have cured hydrophobia[
Plants can be grown as a tall ground cover for colonising large areas. The cultivar 'Flaviramea' has been recommended[
Red osier dogwood is recommended for rehabilitating moist sites within its native range. It is well adapted to disturbed sites, excellent at stabilizing soil, easy to establish, and grows rapidly. It need fresh, aerated water to establish and may be particularly useful in stabilizing eroding streambanks. Its high tolerance for oil could make it useful on oil-damaged sites[
The plant has moderate potential for use in erosion control and greater potential for long-term revegetation than for short-term revegetation[
A fibre obtained from the bark is used as cordage[
]. The bark can be twisted into a rope[
The powdered bark has been used as a toothpowder to preserve the gums and keep the teeth white[
An oil obtained from the seed burns well and can be used in lighting[
A red dye can be obtained from the bark mixed with cedar ashes[
The long, slim stems are pliable, they are used as rims in basket making[
]. The stem wood is very tough and flexible[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame or in an outdoors seedbed if there is sufficient seed[
]. The seed must be separated from the fruit flesh since this contains germination inhibitors[
]. Stored seed should be cold stratified for 3 - 4 months and sown as early as possible in the year[
]. Scarification may also help as may a period of warm stratification before the cold stratification[
]. Germination, especially of stored seed, can be very slow, taking 18 months or more[
]. Prick out the seedlings of cold-frame sown seeds into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow the plants on for their first winter in a greenhouse, planting out in the spring after the last expected frosts.
Cuttings of half-ripe side shoots, mid summer in a frame.
Cuttings of mature wood of the current year's growth, taken with a heel if possible, autumn in a cold frame. High percentage[
]. The cuttings root very easily and can be planted direct into their permanent positions[
Layering of new growth in early summer/July. Takes 9 months[