Ontario Trees & Shrubs website

Alternate-leaved Dogwood
Cornus alternifolia

Other common names: Green Osier, Pagoda Dogwood, Pagoda Tree

French names: Cornouiller feuilles alternes

Family: Dogwood Family (Cornaceae)

Group: Dogwoods

Distinctive features: Shrub; This is the only Dogwood with alternate leaves.

Similar species:
  •   Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida) - Has opposite leaves and branches.

  •   Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus stolonifera) - Has opposite leaves and branches; usually grows in damper soil.

  •   Round-leaved Dogwood (Cornus rugosa) - Has opposite leaves and branches; leaves are obviously round. Leaves have more than 6 veins.

  •   Dogwoods - All other dogwoods have opposite leaves and branches.

Flowers: Summer;  White;  4 parts (petals)

Leaves: Alternate, Simple, Entire;  Leaves have 6 veins.

Height: 8-10 m (26-32 ft)

Habitat: Forests;  Woods.

Books: Shrubs of Ontario: 345    Newcomb's Wildflower Guide: 166   

Native/Non-native: Native

Status: Common.

See Also:
  •   Great Americans: Dogwood, from The Monday Garden, by Sue Sweeney


Photographs: 192 photographs available, of which 18 are featured on this page. SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOGRAPHS.

Range Map is at the bottom of the page

Alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)

Alternate-leaved Dogwood leaves.

Alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)

Alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)

Upper surface of leaf.

Alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)

Underside of a leaf.

Alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)

Showy clumps of white flowers!

Alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)

Insects like them.

Alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)

Alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)

Fruit in late July.

Alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)

Alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)

This winter photo of Alternate-leaved Dogwood whows the branch structure.

Alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)

The trunk varies, as shown in these photos.

Alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)

Alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)

Alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)

Sometimes the branches closely resemble those of Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus stolonifera) and even Silky Dogwood (Cornus obliqua).

Alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)

When branches die they aquire this yellowish cast.

Alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)

Bud in spring (late April).

Alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)

Fall colours of Alternate-leaved Dogwood.

Alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)

Here is a non-typical Alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) growing in the Guelph Arboretum.


Range map for Alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)

PLEASE NOTE: A coloured Province or State means this species occurs somewhere in that Province/State.
The entire Province/State is coloured, regardless of where in that Province/State it occurs.

(Range map provided courtesy of the USDA website and is displayed here in accordance with their Policies)