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Cornus alternifolia

Native Plants

Pagoda Tree

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With its unusual tiered branching structure, this underused member of the dogwood family will surely capture attention as a specimen tree in your landscape. Cornus alternifolia is a small, deciduous tree that will reach a height of 15-30’ with an irregular, open habit. In late spring, small fragrant flowers are borne in flat-topped clusters, followed by berries that turn from green to blue-black as summer progresses. Interesting coral fruit stalks persist after the berries are gone. This tree grows best in a partly sunny location and prefers acidic soil that is cool and moist. Some excellent companions include Rhododendron prinophyllum, Leucothoe axillaris, Symphyotrichum cordifolium, and Solidago caesia.

More Details

  • Plant Type
  • Sun/Shade Conditions
    filtered-shade, partial-shade, shade 
  • Foliage Character
  • Soil Moisture
    average, dry, moist 
  • Flowering Period
    late-spring, mid-spring
  • Soil PH
    acidic, adaptable 
  • Flower Color
  • Summer Foliage Color
  • Fall Foliage Color
    green, purple, yellow 
  • Other Common Names
    alternate leaf dogwood 
  • Fruit/Seed Color
    black, blue 

Additional Information

USDA Plants Database, Fine Gardening