Ontario Trees & Shrubs website

Red Osier Dogwood
Cornus stolonifera
(formerly Cornus sericea)

Other common names: Red Osier Cornel

Other scientific names: Cornus sericea

Family: Dogwood Family (Cornaceae)

Group: Dogwoods

Distinctive features: Shrub; This shrub has distinctive red bark and usually grows in wet areas. Twigs have white pith.

Similar species:
  •   Silky Dogwood (Cornus obliqua) - has striped bark.

  •   Round-leaved Dogwood (Cornus rugosa) - has large round leaves.

  •   Alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) - has alternate leaves.

  •   Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida) - has showy white flowers with large petals (actually sepals).
  •   Dogwoods

Flowers: Spring, Summer;  White;  4 parts (petals)

Leaves: Opposite/Whorled, Simple, Entire;  Opposite, simple.

Height: 2 m (6 ft)

Trunk: White pith.

Habitat: Fields and Open Areas, Wet Areas;  Open wetlands, damp woods.

Books: Shrubs of Ontario: 359    Newcomb's Wildflower Guide: 166   

Native/Non-native: Native

Status: Very common.

Photographs: 123 photographs available, of which 8 are featured on this page. SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOGRAPHS.

Range Map is at the bottom of the page

Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus stolonifera)

A Red Osier Dogwood thicket in late fall.

Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus stolonifera)

Like most dogwoods, it has opposite leaves and branches.

Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus stolonifera)

Note the distinctive shiny red bark. Near the ground it tends to be more green. The coloration appears to be dependent on whether the sun shines on the bark. Where shaded, it is green. In the sun, it is red.

Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus stolonifera)

The pith of Red Osier Dogwood is white. (The pith of the very similar Silky Dogwood (Cornus obliqua) is brown).

Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus stolonifera)

Winter buds.

Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus stolonifera)


Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus stolonifera)

Ripening fruit in the fall.

Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus stolonifera)

Red Osier Dogwood is very good for making baskets, as it bends easily without readily breaking. For more information about this, please visit the Wildwood Survival website, containers section.

Range map for Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus stolonifera)

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)