Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Northeast Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Cornus canadensis L.
- Family: Dogwood (Cornaceae)
- Flowering: May-July
- Field Marks: This species is distinguished by its apparently whorled leaves at the base of the
inflorescence and its 4 white bracts up to 1 inch long that subtend the cluster of flowers. The
spherical or ellipsoid drupes are bright red.
- Habitat: Moist woods.
- Habit: Perennial herb with a woody base from slender rhizomes.
- Stems: Upright, unbranched, woody at base, smooth, up to 10 inches tall.
- Leaves: Lowermost opposite, reduced, oblanceolate, the uppermost appearing to be whorled with each leaf ovate to ovate-oblong, pointed at the tip, tapering to the base, pinnately veined, without teeth, smooth, up to 4 inches long; leaf stalk about 1/10 inch long.
- Flowers: Sessile in a crowded cluster subtended by 4 bracts and borne on a stalk up to 1 1/2 inches long; bracts white, petal-like, ovate, up to 1 inch long.
- Sepals: 4, united below, green, minute.
- Petals: 4, free from each other, oblong, greenish white, up to 1/4 inch long.
- Stamens: 4.
- Pistils: Ovary inferior; style 1.
- Fruits: Drupes nearly spherical or ellipsoid, up to 1/3 inch in diameter, bright red.
- Notes: The leaves are deciduous but the short stem and the red fruits are persistent throughout the winter.
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