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Cornus racemosa

Cornus racemosa Lam.

Cornus foemina Mill. ssp. racemosa (Lam.) J.S. Wilson

Cornus paniculata L’Hér.

Swida racemosa (Lam.) Moldenke

Northern Swamp Dogwood, Gray Dogwood, Panicle Dogwood

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassAsteridaeA large class that encompasses asters
OrderCornalesIncludes dogwoods, hydrangeas, stickleafs, tupelos, even sillyberries
FamilyCornaceaeDogwood family
GenusCornusLatin for “a horn”
SpeciesracemosaWith flowers in racemes

About plant names...

Gray dogwood is native to eastern North America. It shows up in borders, neglected areas, and embankments, thriving in wet and dry conditions and sunny or shady sites.

Plants: Usually a thickly branched shrub 3-8' (91-243 cm) around, but with pruning, some branches become trunks, and the plant can reach 16' (4.9 m). It spreads by suck­ering, rather enthusiastically, as well as by seed.

Leaves: Medium green to gray green, opposite, 2-3½" (5-8.9 cm) × ¾-1¾" (1.9-4.4 cm), narrowly elliptic or somewhat acuminate (sharp tipped), attached by thin petioles (stems) up to ¾" (1.9 cm) long. Each leaf has prominent veins that are roughly parallel to the leaf edges. Leaf edges may be wavy. The upper leaf surface is medium to dark green, while the lower is pale green, almost white, due to the presence of tiny, flattened hairs. In the fall, leaves take on attractive red or purple coloration.

Flowers: Tiny flowers form loose or tight domes up to 2½" (6.3 cm) around. The florets are creamy white in color, about ¼" (6.3 mm) around, with four elliptic petals forming a four-pointed star. Four tiny stamens emerge at angles from a tiny yellow center, along with a single green-tipped style in the center. Flowers appear from May to June, but flowering is only about a week long.

Fruits: Fruits are creamy white (rarely a pale blue), about ¼" (6.3 mm) around, appearing on bright red stems in August and September.

Online References:

Cornus racemosa on illinoiswildflowers.info

Cornus racemosa at Minnesota Wildflowers

Cornus racemosa on plantfacts.osu.edu (PDF)

Cornus racemosa at the Missouri Botanical Garden

Cornus racemosa on Wikipedia

Cornus racemosa on the USDA Forest Service's Fire Effects Information Database

Cornus racemosa (Northern Swamp Dogwood, Gray Dogwood, Panicle Dogwood)

6/14/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 4 × 6" (10 × 15 cm)

Cornus racemosa (Northern Swamp Dogwood, Gray Dogwood, Panicle Dogwood)

6/14/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 5 × 3½" (13 × 9.2 cm)

Cornus racemosa (Northern Swamp Dogwood, Gray Dogwood, Panicle Dogwood)

6/14/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 6 × 9" (15 × 23 cm)

Cornus racemosa (Northern Swamp Dogwood, Gray Dogwood, Panicle Dogwood)

6/17/2013 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Nashoba Hospital, MA
≈ 19 × 12" (47 × 31 cm)

Cornus racemosa (Northern Swamp Dogwood, Gray Dogwood, Panicle Dogwood)

6/21/2013 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 4½ × 7" (12 × 18 cm)

Cornus racemosa (Northern Swamp Dogwood, Gray Dogwood, Panicle Dogwood)

6/12/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 5 × 3½" (13 × 9.2 cm)

Cornus racemosa (Northern Swamp Dogwood, Gray Dogwood, Panicle Dogwood)

6/14/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 8 × 5" (19 × 13 cm)

Cornus racemosa (Northern Swamp Dogwood, Gray Dogwood, Panicle Dogwood)

6/21/2013 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 4½ × 7" (12 × 18 cm)

Cornus racemosa description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 4 Aug 2019.

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Cornus racemosa (Northern Swamp Dogwood, Gray Dogwood, Panicle Dogwood)

6/17/2013 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Nashoba Hospital, MA
≈ 7 × 4½" (16 × 11 cm)

Cornus racemosa (Northern Swamp Dogwood, Gray Dogwood, Panicle Dogwood)

6/17/2013 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Nashoba Hospital, MA
≈ 12 × 19" (31 × 47 cm)

Cornus racemosa (Northern Swamp Dogwood, Gray Dogwood, Panicle Dogwood)

6/14/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 9 × 6" (22 × 14 cm)

Cornus racemosa (Northern Swamp Dogwood, Gray Dogwood, Panicle Dogwood)

6/12/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 6 × 4½" (16 × 11 cm)

Cornus racemosa (Northern Swamp Dogwood, Gray Dogwood, Panicle Dogwood)

6/14/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 6 × 4" (15 × 10 cm)

Cornus racemosa (Northern Swamp Dogwood, Gray Dogwood, Panicle Dogwood)

6/17/2013 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Nashoba Hospital, MA
≈ 7 × 4½" (18 × 12 cm)

Cornus racemosa (Northern Swamp Dogwood, Gray Dogwood, Panicle Dogwood)

6/14/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 4 × 6" (10 × 15 cm)

Cornus racemosa (Northern Swamp Dogwood, Gray Dogwood, Panicle Dogwood)

6/17/2013 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Nashoba Hospital, MA
≈ 9 × 6" (22 × 15 cm)

Cornus racemosa (Northern Swamp Dogwood, Gray Dogwood, Panicle Dogwood)

6/21/2013 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 6 × 4" (15 × 10 cm)

Cornus racemosa (Northern Swamp Dogwood, Gray Dogwood, Panicle Dogwood)

6/21/2013 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 7 × 4½" (18 × 12 cm)

Cornus racemosa (Northern Swamp Dogwood, Gray Dogwood, Panicle Dogwood)

6/14/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 8 × 5" (19 × 13 cm)

Range: Zones 4-8:

About this map...