[The Dogwood Family in the Columbia River Gorge of Oregon and Washington]

Creek Dogwood, Redosier Dogwood, Red-osier Dogwood, Red Osier Dogwood, Western Dogwood, Western Red Osier

Cornus sericea

Synonyms: Cornus xcalifornica, Cornus alba ssp. stolonifera, Cornus alba var. baileyi, Cornus alba var. californica, Cornus alba var. interior, Cornus alba var. occidentalis, Cornus alba var. sibirica, Cornus baileyi, Cornus instolonea, Cornus interior, Cornus occidentalis, Cornus sericea ssp. occidentalis Cornus sericea ssp. sericea, Cornus sericea ssp. stolonifera, Cornus sericea var. interior, Cornus stolonifera, Cornus stolonifera var. baileyi, Cornus stolonifera var. californica, Cornus stolonifera var. coloradensis, Cornus stolonifera var. interior, Cornus stolonifera var. occidentalis, Cornus stolonifera var. stolonifera, Swida instolonea, Swida sericea, Swida stolonifera

Flowers of Creek Dogwood, Redosier Dogwood, Red-osier Dogwood, Red Osier Dogwood, Western Dogwood, Western Red Osier: Cornus sericea (Synonyms: Cornus xcalifornica, Cornus alba ssp. stolonifera, Cornus alba var. baileyi, Cornus alba var. californica, Cornus alba var. interior, Cornus alba var. occidentalis, Cornus alba var. sibirica, Cornus baileyi, Cornus instolonea, Cornus interior, Cornus occidentalis, Cornus sericea ssp. occidentalis Cornus sericea ssp. sericea, Cornus sericea ssp. stolonifera, Cornus sericea var. interior, Cornus stolonifera, Cornus stolonifera var. baileyi, Cornus stolonifera var. californica, Cornus stolonifera var. coloradensis, Cornus stolonifera var. interior, Cornus stolonifera var. occidentalis, Cornus stolonifera var. stolonifera, Swida instolonea, Swida sericea, Swida stolonifera)

The photo above shows a close-up of the flowers of creek dogwood as seen at Horsethief Butte along Washington State Highway #14 at MP 86.3................May 1, 2005.

White berries of Creek Dogwood, Red-osier Dogwood: Cornus sericea ssp. occidentalis (Synonym: Cornus stolonifera var. occidentalis)Photo at right shows the whitish berries of Cornus sericea.

Characteristics:

Creek dogwood is an attractive, multi-steemed shrub from 2-6 meters tall. The younger twigs are bright red to reddish-purple and gray-green on older twigs. The twigs commonly root upon contacting moist soil. The leaves are oval, dark shiny green above, and lighter below (See leaves below.). The leaves are 4-12 cm long and prominently veined. The leaves appear opposite on the twigs, and have entire margins.

The flowers are in flat-topped cymes, with the flower heads lacking the large white bracts of its cousins. The white petals are small, from 2-4 mm long. Plants may flower both in spring as well as in the fall. The berries are white.


Habitat:

Wet forest sites, frequently along streams, in ditches, or in wetland swales.


Range:

Creek dogwood is found over much of North America.

In the Columbia River Gorge, it is found between the elevations of 100'-3100' west of the mouth of the Deshutes River.


Uses or Importances:

1. Ornamental shrub.

2. Wood is strong, used for tool handles.

3. Small straight stems, once called dags (hence the original plant name- dagwood), which are used as skewers for campfire cooking.

4. The bark was at one time dried and used as a tea for treating colds & flu.

5. The inner bark was once used in tobacco mixtures and for tanning or drying animal hides.

6. The white, sour berries were occasionally eaten.

7. Wildlife browse the twigs, leaves and beries.


Creek Dogwood, Redosier Dogwood, Red-osier Dogwood, Red Osier Dogwood, Western Dogwood, Western Red Osier: Cornus sericea (Synonyms: Cornus xcalifornica, Cornus alba ssp. stolonifera, Cornus alba var. baileyi, Cornus alba var. californica, Cornus alba var. interior, Cornus alba var. occidentalis, Cornus alba var. sibirica, Cornus baileyi, Cornus instolonea, Cornus interior, Cornus occidentalis, Cornus sericea ssp. occidentalis Cornus sericea ssp. sericea, Cornus sericea ssp. stolonifera, Cornus sericea var. interior, Cornus stolonifera, Cornus stolonifera var. baileyi, Cornus stolonifera var. californica, Cornus stolonifera var. coloradensis, Cornus stolonifera var. interior, Cornus stolonifera var. occidentalis, Cornus stolonifera var. stolonifera, Swida instolonea, Swida sericea, Swida stolonifera)

The photo above shows the cyme of flowers and deeply veined leaves of creek dogwood as seen at Horsethief Butte along Washington State Highway #14 at MP 86.3................May 1, 2005.

Inflorescence of Creek Dogwood, Red-osier Dogwood: Cornus sericea ssp. occidentalis (Synonym: Cornus stolonifera var. occidentalis) -- Creek Dogwood, Red-osier Dogwood: Cornus sericea ssp. occidentalis (Synonym: Cornus stolonifera var. occidentalis)

Close-ups of the inflorescence and whole plant of creek dogwood as seen in wetlands at Horsethief Butte in the eastern Columbia River Gorge.................May 10, 2009.

leaf of Cornus sericeaLeaf of Cornus sericea

Creek Dogwood, Redosier Dogwood, Red-osier Dogwood, Red Osier Dogwood, Western Dogwood, Western Red Osier: Cornus sericea (Synonyms: Cornus xcalifornica, Cornus alba ssp. stolonifera, Cornus alba var. baileyi, Cornus alba var. californica, Cornus alba var. interior, Cornus alba var. occidentalis, Cornus alba var. sibirica, Cornus baileyi, Cornus instolonea, Cornus interior, Cornus occidentalis, Cornus sericea ssp. occidentalis Cornus sericea ssp. sericea, Cornus sericea ssp. stolonifera, Cornus sericea var. interior, Cornus stolonifera, Cornus stolonifera var. baileyi, Cornus stolonifera var. californica, Cornus stolonifera var. coloradensis, Cornus stolonifera var. interior, Cornus stolonifera var. occidentalis, Cornus stolonifera var. stolonifera, Swida instolonea, Swida sericea, Swida stolonifera)

Creek dogwood blooming along Major Creek between Washington Highway SR14 and old Highway 8, Columbia River Gorge............May 2, 2013.


Paul Slichter