Red Osier Dogwood

Scientific Name:

Cornus sericea

Type:

Shrub

Habitat:

Grows along lakes, ponds, and streams, as well as within wetlands

Range:

Much of North America; across Alaska and Canada and throughout most of the United States except for the Great Plains and the southeast

Status:

No listed status

This species is

NATIVE

to the Truckee Meadows.

Identification:

Red osier dogwood is a deciduous shrub that ranges from 3 to 9 feet tall and is easily recognized by its bright red stems during winter.1 The leaves are oval-shaped and dark green, while small, white flowers in groups of four to five form umbrella-like clusters. The flowers mature into bluish-white berries in late summer.

Fast Facts:

  • As one of many plants that certain indigenous groups call “kinnikinnick”, the inner bark of red osier dogwood was used as a tobacco substitute.

  • Other uses indigenous groups have for red osier dogwood include employing the flexible branches for basketry and making bows and arrows, along with using the bark for a red dye.

  • The berries are edible, but sour!

  • Red osier dogwood goes by many names, including American dogwood, red willow, redstem dogwood.

  • Here in the Truckee Meadows, red osier dogwood has been spotted in Rock Park, among other places. 

Sources:

Contributor(s):

Tessa Putz (research & content)

Alex Shahbazi (edits & page design)

Last Updated:

July 16, 2021, 9:24:27 PM