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Alternate-Leaved Dogwood (Pagoda Dogwood)

Cornus alternifolia
Family: 
Cornaceae (dogwoods)
Description: 

A shrub or small tree with branches often in tierlike layers.

Leaves simple, mostly alternate, often crowded near the end of twig, 2–5 inches long, egg-shaped or widest in the middle, edges smooth, tip pointed; upper surface smooth, dark green; lower surface paler, hairy, with lateral veins 4–6 on each side, conspicuous; leaf stalk ¾–2¼ inches long.

Bark thin, dark reddish-brown, smooth or grooved and broken into irregular narrow ridges.

Twigs often horizontal or ascending, slender, smooth, green.

Flowers May–June, white to cream-colored, flower cluster broad or flat-topped, 1¼–2½ inches wide, sepals minute or absent, petals 4, about 1/8 inch long.

Fruits July–September, borne on a red stalk, round, fleshy, 1-seeded, bluish-black, about 1/3 inch long.

Similar species: When not in flower, this species could be confused with flowering dogwood, but that species has opposite (not alternate) leaves.

Size: 
Height: to 18 feet.
Habitat and conservation: 
Grows on wooded, north-facing slopes and along wooded banks of streams. A popular ornamental for its fleshy fruits, which attract birds, and for the yellow to red fall foliage. In cultivation, it prefers naturalized plantings in partial shade.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Found naturally in central and northeast Missouri, and south through the central Ozarks. Cultivated statewide.
Status: 
This species has several common names: pagoda dogwood, green osier, pigeonberry and blue dogwood.
Human connections: 
This species is a good landscaping replacement for the cold-sensitive flowering dogwood in the northern part of the state. Like other dogwoods, the wood is hard and is fashioned into many objects.
Ecosystem connections: 
Deer and rabbits browse the leaves and several types of birds eat the fruits. This species also provides important cover and nesting habitat for several types of animals.
Shortened URL
http://mdc.mo.gov/node/17161