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Gray Dogwood
Cornus racemosa

A widely adapted, multistemmed shrub that forms large, upright, branching stands that may reach heights of 12'. Commonly used in restorations or revegetation sites and is often allowed to form thickets. It has been used in slopes, buffers, fence rows, stream bank stabilization, lake edges, and upper shoreline zones. It will increase and become denser with disturbance. This species suckers and forms thickets that will invade surrounding areas and become aggressive. This may be a strategy to inhibit other species that invade, such as buckthorn and honeysuckle.

USDA symbol: CORA6

General Information

Plant TypeShrub
Height10 feet
Light ExposureSun, Part Sun, Shade
Soil MoistureDry, Medium, Wet
Bloom ColorWhite
Gray Dogwood (Gray Dogwood<div><em class="small">Cornus racemosa</em></div>)
Photo credit: Minnesota Native Landscapes (Click to enlarge)


Flooding / Inundation ToleranceModerate
General Resilience8
Salt ToleranceLow
Stress ToleranceAlkaline Conditions, General Disturbance

Pollinator Value: High

Bloom MonthsMay to June
Larval Host ofBees
Specific Pollinators HostedNumerous bee species
Pollinator BenefitInsect Pollinated, Provides Nectar, Supports Generalists

Project Planning

Project TypeErosion Control, Restoration, Sandy or Engineered Soils
Coefficient of Conservatism4
Herbivore SensitivityMedium
Rate of SpreadMedium
Soil StabilizationDeep
Vegetative ReproductionClonal


CountyAitkin, Anoka, Becker, Beltrami, Benton, Blue Earth, Brown, Carlton, Carver, Cass, Chippewa, Chisago, Clay, Clearwater, Cook, Cottonwood, Crow Wing, Dakota, Dodge, Douglas, Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Grant, Hennepin, Houston, Hubbard, Isanti, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Kittson, Koochiching, Lake, Le Sueur, Mahnomen, Marshall, Martin, McLeod, Meeker, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Mower, Nicollet, Norman, Olmsted, Otter Tail, Pine, Pipestone, Polk, Pope, Ramsey, Red Lake, Redwood, Renville, Rice, Roseau, Sherburne, Sibley, St. Louis, Stearns, Steele, Swift, Todd, Wabasha, Wadena, Waseca, Washington, Watonwan, Winona, Wright
EcoregionDriftless Area, Lake Agassiz Plain, North Central Hardwood Forests, Northern Glaciated Plains, Northern Lakes and Forests, Northern Minnesota Wetlands, Western Cornbelt Plains
Approximate Eco ProvinceEastern Broadleaf Forest, Laurentian Mixed Forest, Prairie Parkland, Tallgrass Aspen Parklands