Western flowering dogwood

Silhouette - western flowering dogwood
  • Latin name: Cornus nuttallii Audub.
  • French name: Cornouiller de Nuttall
  • Synonym(s): Pacific dogwood
  • Taxonomic Serial Number: 27809
  • NA8 , C8
Description

Leaves

  • Leaf with detail of fine hair on undersurface - western flowering dogwood

Form

  • Clustered at the shoot tips
  • Widest near the middle
  • Tapered to both ends
  • Tip short, sharp
  • Base broad, wedge-shaped
  • Fine hairs on both surfaces

Length

  • 8–15 cm

Colour

  • Upper surface deep green
  • Lower surface of petiole grayish-green

Autumn colour

  • Dull red

Margin

  • Wavy

Buds

  • Lateral bud and leaf scar - western flowering dogwood

Form

  • Terminal leaf bud present, long-tipped
  • 1 pair of scales covered with fine hairs
  • Terminal flower bud globular
  • Lateral buds minute

Length

  • Terminal bud 8–12 mm

Colour

  • Hairs white

Twigs

  • Winter twig showing terminal floral buds - western flowering dogwood

Form

  • Hairy when young becoming smooth
  • Lenticels prominent

Colour

  • Light green when young, becoming purplish

Flowers

  • Central floral cluster and conspicuous floral bracts - western flowering dogwood

Form

  • Small, in compact clusters (cymes)
  • Inconspicuous
  • Surrounded by 4–6 pointed floral bracts

Length

  • 5–10 cm

Width

  • “Flower” about 10–20 cm

Colour

  • Flower cluster dull purple or green
  • Floral bracts white (rarely pink)

Structure

  • Synoecious
  • Floral bracts originate as bud scales

Floral timing

  • April to June, sometimes again in late summer

Fruits

  • Fruit (left); seed (right) - western flowering dogwood

Length

  • 10–12 mm

Colour

  • Bright red

Structure

  • Drupes
  • In densely packed globular clusters of 30–40
  • Ripen in autumn

Bark

Form

  • Thin, smooth, breaking into small plates with age

Colour

  • Light grey to reddish-brown

Size

Height

  • To 18 m

Diameter

  • To 30 cm

Tree form

  • Silhouette - western flowering dogwood

Forest-grown

Trunk

  • Slightly tapered, straight, distinct   

Crown

  • Narrow, short

Open-grown

Trunk

  • Trunk short 

Crown

  • Rounded, about as wide as high
  • Principal branches ascending, then spreading horizontally 

Root system

  • Deep, occasionally with a taproot

Habitat

Site

  • Deep, coarse, well-drained sites
  • Water-formed terraces, along riverbanks, near the bottom of valleys

Associated species

  • Often a major component of the understory in open conifer stands
Photos
  • Western flowering dogwood
  • Western flowering dogwood
Distribution map
Distribution map - western flowering dogwood
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