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Common Shrub Species of the Northwest Forest

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Cornus stolonifera
Red Osier Dogwood
Cornaceae (Dogwood Family)

Description

General - small to medium sized shrub with numerous stems forming thickets up to 4-5 m tall but generally shorter; bark, red to green with numerous lenticels, later developing larger cracks and splits and turning light brown; twig, bright red, sometimes green splotched with red, white pith, buds narrow and tapering, flower buds more swollen.

Red Osier Dogwood Leaves - opposite, simple, arcuately veined, 5-8 cm inches long, somewhat narrow, entire margin, green above, pale below.

Flowers - small, dull white in flat top clusters about 5 cm across appearing in late May to early July.

Fruit - dull white, about 6 cm in diameter in rounded clusters. Maturing in August to September.

Habitat

Throughout NW Ontario; occasional across a range of dry to wet forest habitats, especially on poorly drained soils; sometimes along the margins of wetlands, as well as roadsides.

Notes

The young branches, "osiers", of this shrub have been used by Native American Indians in making baskets and the bark of the stems has been traditionally collected to make a red dye.

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