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Red Osier Dogwood
Cornus sericea

a.k.a. Red-twig Dogwood

Tolerates wet soils, attracts birds & pollinators, winter interest. Many-stemmed, erect, deciduous shrub 6-12' tall, forming thickets. Used for restorations, buffers, screens, erosion control, stream bank stabilization and landscaping. It will work well in rain gardens and other water-fluctuation situations. It provides habitat for wildlife and beauty to landscapes. There are many cultivars and varieties. It may invade sedge meadows, prairies, and calcareous fens as water levels change. When deer numbers are high, this species is reduced in size and abundance.

USDA symbol: COSE16

General Information

Plant TypeShrub
Height6 to 12 feet
Light ExposureSun, Part Sun, Shade
Soil MoistureDry, Medium, Wet
Bloom ColorWhite
Red Osier Dogwood (Red Osier Dogwood<div><em class="small">Cornus sericea</em></div>)
Photo credit: Minnesota Native Landscapes (Click to enlarge)


Flooding / Inundation ToleranceVery High
General Resilience10
Salt ToleranceLow
Stress ToleranceAlkaline Conditions, Drought Tolerant, General Disturbance

Pollinator Value: Very High

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

Project Planning

Project TypeErosion Control, Rain Garden, Restoration, Sandy or Engineered Soils, Shoreline Buffer
Coefficient of Conservatism4
Herbivore SensitivityMedium
Rate of SpreadSlow
Soil StabilizationDeep
Vegetative ReproductionClonal


CountyAitkin, Anoka, Becker, Beltrami, Benton, Big Stone, 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, Itasca, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Kittson, Koochiching, Lac qui Parle, Lake, Lake of the Woods, Le Sueur, Lincoln, Lyon, Mahnomen, Marshall, McLeod, Meeker, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Mower, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Norman, Olmsted, Otter Tail, Pennington, Pine, Pipestone, Polk, Pope, Ramsey, Red Lake, Redwood, Rice, Roseau, Sherburne, Sibley, St. Louis, Stearns, Steele, Stevens, Swift, Todd, Traverse, Wabasha, Wadena, Waseca, Washington, Watonwan, Wilkin, Winona, Wright, Yellow Medicine
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