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Creek Dogwood
Cornus sericea ssp. sericea
About Creek Dogwood (Cornus sericea ssp. sericea) Nurseries Show All Photos Creek Dogwood (Cornus sericea ssp. sericea) is a native shrub that grows in northern, southern and central California. It was formerly known as Cornus stolonifera and is still referred to by that name in some sources. It is moderately fast growing and moderately long-lived. It grows in a semi-upright form to a height of up to 15 feet, with active growth during the spring and summer. It is noted for its red bark, especially on new growth. Flowers are white and striking, and bloom in the spring. Leaves are medium green and deciduous. Fall foliage is colorful. The fruit is a cluster of small round berries ranging in color from white to gold to blue. It tends to grow in moist places, at elevations from 0-9000 feet.

Creek Dogwood requires moist soil and part shade. It performs best in woodland settings.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
4 - 15 ft (1.2 - 4.6 m)

Max. Width
12 ft (3.7 m)

Upright, Spreading


Growth Rate

Winter Deciduous

Flower Color
White, Red

Flowering Season

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Moist places, creeksides and mountain slopes up to 9,000 ft. throughout much of the state, as well as extensively outside of California. It is typically found in woodlands in conjunction with firs, pines and other trees

Part Shade

Elevation ?
-12' - 10329'

Annual Precip. ?
4.7" - 155.6"

Summer Precip. ?
0.16" - 5.84"

Coldest Month ?
23.3° F - 55.8° F

Hottest Month ?
47.4° F - 79.3° F

Humidity ?
0.09 vpd - 30.26 vpd

Soil Description
Tolerates clay soil

Soil PH
4.0 - 7.0

Soil Toxicity Tolerance
Tolerates Serpentine Soil

Medium, Slow

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 0° F

Companion Plants
Trees - Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), Santa Lucia Fir (Abies bracteata), Duoglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), and many others. Shrubs and herbs - Meadow Rue (Thalictrum fendleri), Snowdrop Bush (Styrax officinalis), Yellow Monkeyflower (Mimulus guttatus), Western Azalea (Rhododendron occidentale), and Huckleberry (Vaccinum ovatum).

Wildlife Attracted
Birds love the berries

Landscaping Information
Water Requirement ?
Moderate - High
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Moderately Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Deep Organic

Prune annually to shape and to stimulate new growth with red stems

Propagation ?
From seed, layering or cuttings.  For propagating by seed: Soak in concentrated H2S04 1 hr. and 3-4 mos. stratification (USDA Forest Service 1974). 2 mos. warm stratification in lieu of acid bath may give equally good germination. 3 mos. stratification only may also give good germination ( Peterson 1953).

Common uses
Bird Gardens, Butterfly Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Botanical Names
Cornus stolonifera

Common Names
American Dogwood, Redosier Dogwood

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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