Alternate-leaf dogwood

Silhouette - alternate-leaf dogwood
  • Latin name: Cornus alternifolia L. f.
  • French name: Cornouiller à feuilles alternes
  • Synonym(s): Pagoda dogwood
  • Taxonomic Serial Number: 27813
  • NA3 , C3
Description

Leaves

  • Leaf - alternate-leaf dogwood

Form

  • Alternate
  • May appear opposite or whorled on very short twigs
  • Noticeably clustered at the ends of shoots
  • Ovate
  • Tip tapering, long, slender
  • Base rounded or tapered
  • Lower surface hairless 

Length

  • 4–13 cm

Width

  • Widest near the middle

Colour

  • Upper surface dark green
  • Lower surface whitish

Autumn colour

  • Red

Margin

  • Slightly wavy

Buds

  • Lateral bud - alternate-leaf dogwood

Form

  • Terminal bud present, small, pointed
  • 2 or 3 loose scales

Colour

  • Reddish-brown

Twigs

  • Winter twig - alternate-leaf dogwood

Form

  • Shiny, polished, stout
  • Many have 1 or 2 slender neoformed branches near the tip longer than the central axis

Colour

  • Greenish-red to dark reddish-brown or dark purplish-red

Flowers

Form

  • Small on a jointed stalk
  • In large, open, irregularly rounded terminal clusters (cymes)
  • Flattened at the top

Colour

  • White or cream-coloured

Structure

  • Synoecious

Floral timing

  • Opening after the leaves

Fruits

  • Fruit (left); seed (right) - alternate-leaf dogwood

Form

  • Berry-like
  • Ripening in midsummer

Width

  • 8–10 mm

Colour

  • Dark blue or bluish-black
  • Stalks red

Structure

  • Drupe

Bark

Form

  • Thin, smooth, with age separating into shallow ridges

Colour

  • Reddish-brown

Size

Height

  • To 10 m

Diameter

  • To 15 cm

Tree form

  • Silhouette - alternate-leaf dogwood

Forest-grown

Crown

  • Crown formed of several spreading, horizontal tiers
  • Results in a flat, layered pagoda appearance

Habitat

Site

  • An understory species
  • Well-drained deep soils in the understory of open woodlands
  • At forest edges, along streams, bordering swamps, near the bottom of steep slopes

Light tolerance

  • Shade-tolerant

Range

Deciduous forests of eastern North America

Photos
  • Alternate-leaf dogwood
  • Alternate-leaf dogwood
  • Alternate-leaf dogwood
  • Alternate-leaf dogwood
  • Alternate-leaf dogwood
Distribution map
Distribution map - alternate-leaf dogwood
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