Gray Dogwood


(Cornus racemosa)

gray dogwood flowers
Violmsyan, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
gray dogwood fall colour
© Rob Curtis, some rights reserved (CC-BY-NC-SA)

Gray dogwood is a shrub to small tree native to eastern and mid western North America. As a bushy shrub, it spreads by rhizomes, usually growing 4 to 10 feet in height but can reach up to almost 30 feet. It can be found near ponds and stream banks, in wet areas, or open woods with full to moderate sun exposure. Gray dogwood does well in border, mass or naturalized plantings due to its attractive flowers, fruit, and fall colour.

Dense mounds of branches often form thickets with younger stems reddish and older stems grayish brown. The leaves are Grayish green, elliptic to lance in shape and are important forage for white tailed deer. From May to July, clusters of Showy flowers in open cymes or racemes (hence the name racemosa) appear, reproducing both sexually and asexually. Clusters of white berries mature from August to October and are favorite by many bird species.

Gray dogwood has good pest and disease resistance, is tolerant of air pollution, and tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions. This combined with beautiful fall colour, fruit, and flowers make it a great choice as a border, mass, or specimen accent painting in natural landscapes.


Arbor Day Foundation. (n.d.). Gray Dogwood. Retrieved from

Missouri Botanical Garden. (n.d.). Cornus racemosa. Retrieved from

Natural Resources Conservation Service. (n.d.). Cornus racemosa Lam. Retrieved from

The Morton Arboretum. (n.d.). Gray dogwood. Retrieved from