Cornus foemina Mill.
Family - Cornaceae
Habit - Shrub or small tree to 5 m.
Stems - Twigs reddish brown to tan or brown when young, becoming olive green, grayish brown, or gray with age, glabrous or sparsely appressed-hairy, the pith white or tan. Bark smooth or with shallow fissures, the ridges becoming divided into thin, irregular plates, gray to grayish brown, sometimes with small, slightly raised, lighter dots.
Leaves - Opposite, simple, petiolate, well-distributed along branches. Petioles 0.5-1.cm long, densely pubescent. Blades 5-12 cm long, 2-7 cm wide, broadly lanceolate to elliptic or ovate, rounded, angled, or short-tapered at the base, sharply pointed, the surfaces glabrous or sparsely to moderately pubescent with mostly appressed, straight, T-shaped hairs, the undersurface sometimes with microscopic white papillae and slightly roughened to the touch, the lateral veins 3 or 4 pairs, these relatively evenly spaced.
Inflorescence - Terminal domed cymes, typically as high as broad when mature, to +/-9cm long (tall). Branches of inflorescence densely pubescent. The pubescence typically erect.
Flowers - Petals 4, distinct, +/-4mm long, 2mm broad, glabrous, acute, whitish. Stamens 4, alternating with petals, erect, exserted. Filaments to 4mm long, whitish, glabrous. Anthers yellowish, 1.1mm long. Style glabrous, whitish, 2.2mm long. Stigma capitate. Ovary inferior, 2-locular. Calyx tube pubescent, creamy white, 2mm long, 1.8mm in diameter, with 4 minute lobes. Lobes to .4mm long, acute.
Fruits - White, globose, 5-6mm in diameter, on red stalks.
Flowering - May - July.
Habitat - Moist ground, prairie borders, thickets, slopes, roadsides, sometimes cultivated.
Origin - Native to U.S.
Lookalikes - Cornus drummondii..
Other info. - This plant produces many suckers and will form dense colonies if conditions are right. It flowers earlier than most other Cornus in the state.
Photographs taken at the Kansas City Zoo, 10-6-99 and 5-19-00.