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Silky dogwood

Habit of silky dogwood.

Silky dogwood is a large to medium-sized native shrub with creamy white spring flowers , dark green foliage, and reddish stems and burgundy fall color. A great 4-season plant for naturalizing, in mass, and in the shrub border, especially in moist sites.

Botanical name:

Cornus amomum

All common names:

silky dogwood

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Tree or Plant Type:

  • Shrub

Native Locale:

  • Illinois,
  • North America

Landscape Uses:

  • Hedge,
  • Massing,
  • Mixed border,
  • Screen,
  • Specimen,
  • Windbreak

Size Range:

  • Large shrub (more than 8 feet),
  • Medium shrub (5-8 feet)

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily),
  • Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7,
  • Zone 8

Soil Preference:

  • Acid soil,
  • Alkaline soil,
  • Moist, well-drained soil,
  • Sandy soil,
  • Wet soil


  • Occasional drought,
  • Wet sites,
  • Occasional flooding,
  • Alkaline soil,
  • Clay soil

Seasons of Interest:

  • midwinter,
  • late winter,
  • mid spring,
  • midsummer,
  • mid fall,
  • late fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • White

Shape or Form:

  • Arching,
  • Mounded,
  • Multi-stemmed,
  • Open,
  • Round,
  • Thicket-forming

Growth Rate:

  • Moderate

More Information:

Tree & Plant Care

A Midwest native dogwood found in damp to wet sites. 
Best in full sun in moist areas. Tolerant of soil pH.
Often considered short-lived.
Tolerant of black walnut toxicity.

Disease, pests, and problems

Scale, leaf spots and stem cankers

Native geographic location and habitat

Found along ponds, lakes, streams, and swamps in Midwest to Eastern U.S.

Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife

Fruit is loved by many small birds and waterfowl.

Bark color and texture 

Twigs are reddish-brown to gray brown with vertical, shallow fissures and lenicles on older stems.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Opposite, elliptical to ovate leaves, 3 1/2 inches long and 2 inches wide. Margins are wavy.
Upper leaves are dark green, the lower surface pale with grayish to brown hairs on the veins.
Fall color is a variable reddish-purple to burgundy.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Creamy-white, flat-topped flowers are upright and terminal.  Blooms in May-June.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Attractive fruit ripens in late summer, porcelain blue with white blotches. 
Each fruit is 1/4-inch diameter and loved by birds.


Location of Cornus amomum (Silky dogwood) at the Arboretum