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 a 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
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • 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 late spring, late summer, early fall
  • Flower color and fragrance White
  • Shape or form Broad, Multi-stemmed, Round, Thicket-forming
  • Growth rate Fast

Native geographic location and habitat: 

Rough-leaved dogwood can be found along wood edge borders, roadsides, stream banks in Great Plains, Midwest, and along the Mississippi River. C-Value: 2. 

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.  The 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 the ends of 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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