The redosier dogwood is a distinctive shrub known for its showy winter color. Attractive clusters of spring white flowers produce pea sized white fruits that mature in late summer to early fall. The deep red winter twigs are outstanding for many months of the year. It is extremely hardy and durable with a preference for moist or water logged soils. It is easy to transplant. This shrub can be used for a hedge, border, erosion control on banks and slopes, mass plantings in large areas, along highways, parks, golf courses, and long lasting color in winter gardens.
An upright, loose, multi-stemmed, broad-spreading shrub with horizontal branches at the base. The young stems are slender, very smooth, and red. The bark remains a deep red for some time finally turning gray-brown with a rough sandpaper like texture. This is a thicket forming shrub. The fibrous root system holds soil well for use as a bank cover. The foliage is green in summer, but varies in the fall from little color to reddish purple. The cream-white flowers appear in cymes in the spring producing dull white drupes in July to September. The redosier dogwood prefers full sun with an evenly moist soil, but has wide range of tolerance except for extremely dry conditions. Horizontal growth is slow. Pruning needs to be done only once a year. Periodic renewal of this shrub by cutting it back to the ground will allow the red color of the younger stems to show. Plant three to four feet apart for a hedge.
The redosier dogwood provides dense cover for wildlife. The white berries are eaten by at least 18 species of birds including ruffled grouse, bobwhite quail, wild turkey, and gray catbird. The twigs and foliage are browsed by elk, deer, moose, rabbit, and chipmunk.
The redosier dogwood is native to North America with a range that extends over most of the United States from Newfoundland to Mexico, California to Virginia. It is also known as red dogwood, redstem dogwood, and red willow.. Native Americans use the inner bark in tobacco mixtures in the sacred pipe ceremony. Some tribes ate the sour berries while others made arrow shafts, bows, stakes, and other tools from the branches and shoots. The leaves, bark, and roots were used to make medicines. Redosier dogwood is used for basket weaving. If the bark is gathered in the early spring, it will retain its deep red color when dried.
The redosier dogwood prefers moist soils and often grows in wet swamp lands. It is not tolerant of excessively dry soil.
The leaves are opposite, simple. ovate to oblong-lancelolate, 2"-5" long, medium to dark green in summer, and ruddy red or purple in the fall.
Tiny cream to white flowers are borne in 1 1/2"-2 1/2" flat topped cymes or clusters.
Mid to late spring..
An oval-elongate, dull white drupe or berry, 1/3" diameter with a single stone borne in mid to late summer to early fall.