Content Detail

Rough-leaved dogwood is a native large shrub or small tree, often mistaken for gray dogwood. Named for the rough textured leaves, it has fleshy white fruit, dark green foliage that turns burgundy red fall color. Best used for naturalizing in moist areas. May be difficult to find in nurseries.

  • Family (English) Dogwood
  • Family (botanic) Cornaceae
  • Tree or plant type Tree, Shrub
  • Native locale Illinois, North America
  • Size range Large shrub (more than 8 feet), Small tree (15-25 feet)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Occasional flooding, Wet sites
  • Season of interest early fall, late spring, late summer
  • Flower color and fragrance White
  • Shape or form Broad, Multi-stemmed, Round, Thicket-forming
  • Growth rate Fast

Native geographic location and habitat: 

C-Value: 2. Found along wood edge borders, roadsides, stream banks in Great Plains, Midwest and along the Mississippi River.

Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife: 

Flowers attract many pollinators and fruits attract birds.

Bark color and texture: 

First year twigs are reddish brown, eventually turning gray. Pith color is white or tan, darkening with age of stem.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture: 

Leaves are opposite, 4 inches long and 2 inches wide. Upper surface is dark green with small hairs, giving it a rough touch. Underside is lighter and has small hairs. Margins are wavy. Fall color is a dark burgundy red.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size: 

Flowers are 2-inch wide clusters of creamy white flowers at ends on branches. They appear in early-to-mid June.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:  

Fleshy, 1/4 inch diameter, white fruits have bright orange-red pedicels.

Plant care:

Plant in full sun to part shade in well-drained to moist soil. Plants are tolerant of most soil types from wet to dry. This shrub tends to sucker and form colonies.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances: 

Stem cankers, leaf spots, powdery mildew, and aphids are common problems for this plant.


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