Gray Dogwood (Stiff Dogwood)

Cornus foemina
Family: 
Cornaceae (dogwoods)
Description: 

A shrub with stiff, upright, irregular branches, often thicket-forming; sometimes a small tree.

Leaves opposite, simple, lacking teeth or lobes, lance-shaped or broadest at the middle, 2–4 inches long, tapering to a broadly pointed tip. The lower leaf surface is paler than the top.

Bark gray, smooth when young, developing shallow grooves with age.

Twigs reddish or greenish when young, becoming gray or gray-brown with age.

Flowers May–July, small, creamy-white flowers in round-topped, open, branching clusters 1¼–2½ inches broad.

Fruits July–October, white or pale blue, round, fleshy, ¼ inch in diameter; one-seeded. Fruits borne on red stalks.

Size: 
Height: to 15 feet; spread: 10 feet.
Habitat and conservation: 
Swamps, bottomland forests, moist upland forests in ravines, banks of streams and rivers, margins of ponds and lakes, bases of bluffs, fens, acid seeps and edges of bottomland and upland prairies; also fencerows, old fields, ditches, railroads and roadsides. There are two subspecies of this plant in our state. Subspecies foemina (stiff dogwood) lives mainly only in Bootheel swamps and nearby southeastern Ozarks. Subspecies racemosa (gray dogwood) has a broader distribution in our state.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Scattered nearly throughout the state but absent from most of the Unglaciated Plains Division.
Human connections: 
This small dogwood has considerable value in landscaping. The white or bluish fruits are attractive on their reddish stalks; in fall, the leaves turn purple with highlights of yellow, pink and green; and flowers are often produced even when the trees are still young.
Ecosystem connections: 
Like many other shrubs and small trees, this plant provides cover for songbirds and other wildlife. The fruits are food for many species. Birds, for instance, eat the fruits, then disperse the seeds in their droppings.
Shortened URL
http://mdc.mo.gov/node/6548