Cornus racemosa, commonly known as the gray dogwood, is a deciduous shrub native to North America. It is a member of the dogwood family, Cornaceae. Here are some key characteristics and information about this plant:
- The gray dogwood typically grows to be 3-10 feet (1-3 meters) tall and wide.
- The bark is gray-brown and smooth.
- The leaves are simple, opposite, and oval-shaped, with a pointed tip. They are typically 2-4 inches (5-10 cm) long and have a dark green color in the summer, turning red in the fall.
- The flowers are small and white, forming clusters that are 2-4 inches (5-10 cm) wide. They bloom in late spring or early summer.
- The fruit is a small, white berry that matures in the fall and can persist on the plant into the winter.
Habitat and Range:
- The gray dogwood is native to North America and can be found across much of the eastern and central United States and southern Canada.
- It typically grows in wetland areas, such as swamps, bogs, and streambanks, but can also be found in drier upland habitats.
- It is often used in landscaping as a shrub border or for erosion control.
- The gray dogwood provides food and habitat for a variety of wildlife, including birds, small mammals, and insects.
- It is an important component of wetland ecosystems, where it helps to stabilize soil and prevent erosion.
- The berries are a food source for many bird species, including the ruffed grouse, cedar waxwing, and Eastern bluebird.
- The gray dogwood has been used in traditional medicine by some indigenous groups to treat various ailments, including fevers and stomach problems.
- It is sometimes used in landscaping as a shrub border or for erosion control.
- The wood is dense and hard and has been used in the past for tool handles, stakes, and other small objects.