Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea)
Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea), often referred to as Red Twig Dogwood is another striking shrub because of the red highlights in its growth. This multi-stemmed shrub has red stems which are at their most brilliant in the late winter when the sun begins to shine longer in anticipation of spring.
Like all dogwoods, it has clusters of white flowers. These flat-topped blossoms produce pea-sized bluish-white drupes beloved by birds and small critters alike. It can handle full sun or part shade. Its oval and sometimes lance-shaped leaves turn shades of red and burgundy in the fall. How could one find a more colorful shrub.
As mentioned in Dogwoods – Part 1, Red Twig Dogwood makes a great border plant. It also seems to be able to handle our clay, often soggy, soils well.
Of all the dogwoods, Red Twig seems to be most susceptible to disease; namely, leaf and twig blight, canker and leaf spots, and scale.
How to tell dogwood leaves from non-native Buckthorn leaves?
A little fact shared with me by Don Vorpahl* who helped me with the design of my prairie some 30 years ago. If you slowly, but strongly, pull a bit of dogwood leaf from the stem of the leaf, it will show a strand of filament still attached to the main stem. Buckthorn, or any other leaves, for that matter will not show a filament.
See also US Forest Services’ Plant of the Week Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea L ssp sericea) for a more complete explanation about how to identify dogwoods.