Native Plant Spotlight: Red-Twig Dogwood


One great native plant to landscape with is Red-Twig Dogwood. This shrub, also called Red Osier Dogwood, with the Latin name Cornus sericea, can be found in the wild in areas such as wetlands and riparian zones where the soil is rich and poorly drains. It also can be found in areas that receive more than 20 inches of precipitation annually.


Red-Twig Dogwood, through its flowers that bloom between May and June, provide nectar for pollinators such as bees and butterflies. Dogwood then grows berries that ripen at the end of the summer. These berries are eaten by many different bird and mammal species. Birds also find cover and nesting habitat in the Dogwood’s leaves during the summer and refuge in their upright stems in the winter. In the wild, beavers are known to utilize these stems to build dams!

As the Red-Twig Dogwood has such striking red stems, it is a great choice of plant for winter interest in your garden. Its cycle of leaves, flowers, berries, and stems throughout the seasons can provide much delight for you and wildlife. Dogwood can tolerate shade, although their signature red stems will be the brightest in full sun. As in nature they appreciate fertile, moist soils, Dogwood is happiest planted in such areas. For less than moist environments, if well established in its first few seasons, your Dogwood will be drought-tolerant. A mature Dogwood will grow between six to nine feet tall and eight to 12 feet wide. Through all that it can do and how beautiful it is, Dogwood is an excellent choice of native plant for your landscape.

Red-Twig Dogwood is native to over half of the United States! Cornus sericea is native to the areas in light green, present to the state in areas that are dark green, and not native to the areas in dark yellow. Don't fret if your area is not included; your area may have a different variety of Dogwood native to it!

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