5 Pagoda Dogwood
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Basic Information about this tree
  • Scientific Name:  Cornus Alternifolia
  • Common Names:Pagoda Dogwood, Alternate Leaf Dogwood

  • Deciduous 
  • Sunlight / Moisture / Soil preference: prefers slightly acidic, well-drained soil and part shade protected from the wind.  Will tolerate dry sites. 
  • Flowering type: Monoecious with complete flowers having Female and Male parts in the same bloom
  • Pollination strategy: by insects
  • Native 
  • Age Estimate/ Health:  about 4 years when planted 2019, healthy
  • Longevity:  about 30 years
  • Mature Size: 15-20 ft tall by 20-30 ft wide 
  • GPS Coordinates: N45.00248, W92.90376

Mature Tree in Winter/ Summer

Leaves in Summer / Fall

5 pagoda dogwood summer leaf
5 pagoda dogwood fall leaves

Flowers - monoecious with male and female parts

5 pagoda dogwood flowers

Fruit Unripe / Ripe

5 pagoda dogwood unripe fruit
5 pagoda dogwood fruit

Bark of Mature Tree / root system sketch

Pagoda dogwood has a fibrous, spreading root system

5 pagoda dogwood bark
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Uses in Traditional and Modern Eras

Value for wildlife: The flowers are a nectar source for the Spring Azure butterfly which also utilizes the plant as a host site for its larva laying eggs on the flower buds.  The fruit is bitter and enjoyed by a variety of native wildlife such as birds, bears, squirrels, pheasants, wild turkey, and grouse. 

Utility for Humans: Pagoda dogwood can be planted as an ornamental specimen or in small groupings on residential property around homes, near patios, or in lawns. Also effective in shrub borders, woodland gardens, bird gardens, or naturalized areas.

Traditional uses in Native American Tree Medicine (historical):

Homeowner’s Corner

Pagoda dogwood is susceptible to golden stem canker. The infected branches turn yellow to orange and eventually die.

Links & References

Branch Structure: Alternate leaf dogwood is also known as pagoda dogwood for its tiered horizontal branching, the trademark characteristic of this species. It can be a shrub or small tree with green, red, or purple branches with a distinctive flat-topped crown accompanied by a spreading horizontal branch architecture. The older parts of the plant, such as the trunk, are mostly smooth and wine-purple to brown with vertical tan lenticels. 

 Reference: https://trees.umn.edu/pagoda-dogwood-cornus-alternifolia

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