Alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)

Plantae>Magnoliophyta>Magnoliopsida>Cornales>Cornaceae>Cornus alternifolia L. f.

Alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) flowers

Alternate-leaved Dogwood, also called Alternate-leaf Dogwood or Pagoda Dogwood, is a fairly common large shrub or small tree found primarily in the Mountains in North Carolina, rare in the Piedmont. The alternate name Pagoda Dogwood refers to the horizontal growth habit of the branches.

Haywood Co., NC 5/10/08.

Alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) flowers

Yellowish-white flower clusters appear in early to mid-May. The veins are deeply impressed in the leaf.

Haywood Co., NC 5/10/08.

Alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) leaves

Appropriately enough, it differs from other species of Cornus in having alternate leaves -- all our other species are opposite-leaved. The leaves tend to cluster at the ends of branches, so they may look opposite or whorled until closely inspected. The alternate branching pattern is easier to notice.

Haywood Co., NC 5/10/08.

Alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) flowers

Carroll Co., VA 5/22/2011.

Alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) flowers

Carroll Co., VA 5/22/2011.

Alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) flowers

Carroll Co., VA 5/22/2011.

Alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) flowers

Carroll Co., VA 5/22/2011.

Alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) flowers

Carroll Co., VA 5/22/2011.

Alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) flowers

Carroll Co., VA 5/22/2011.

Alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) leaf

Grayson Co., VA 5/31/2009.

Alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) fruit

Developing fruits.

Grayson Co., VA 5/31/2009.

Alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) leaf

The leaves are otherwise similar to other dogwoods, with the characteristic leaf venation: the veins become nearly parallel to the margin as they approach it.

Clay Co., NC 5/19/07.

Alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) leaf

The leaf undersides are glaucous.

Clay Co., NC 5/19/07.

Alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) flowers

The inflorescences are similar to most other shrub dogwoods, such as Swamp Dogwood (C. amomum), lacking the white bracts of Flowering Dogwood (C. florida).

Clay Co., NC 5/22/2005.

Alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) flower

Clay Co., NC 5/19/07.

Alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) bark

The bark on smaller trees is green.

Clay Co., NC 5/19/07.

Alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) bark

Bark of a larger tree, still showing some green.

Haywood Co., NC 5/10/08.

Alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) bark

Carroll Co., VA 5/22/2011.

Alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) flowers

Carroll Co., VA 5/22/2011.

More information:
NC State
Trees of Wisconsin
University of Connecticut
Virginia Tech Dendrology

Trees, Shrubs, and Woody Vines of North Carolina

cwcook@duke.edu

All photographs and text ©2012 by Will Cook unless otherwise indicated.