Cornus amomum - Silky Dogwood


Silky dogwood is a medium-sized deciduous shrub that is typically found in moist lowland areas, swamp borders, floodplains, shrub wetlands, and along streams and ponds in Eastern North America (New Foundland to Ontario south to Missouri, Mississippi and Florida). Twigs and leaf undersides have silky hairs, hence the common name. This dogwood typically grows to 6-12’ tall with an open-rounded form. Tiny yellowish-white flowers (showy petal-like white bracts are absent) in flat-topped clusters (cymes to 2.5” across) bloom in late spring to early summer. Flowers give way to attractive berry-like drupes that change from white to blue as they ripen in late summer (August). Birds are attracted to the fruit. Oval to elliptic, medium green leaves (2-5” long) have conspicuous veins. Attractive fall color is usually absent. Twigs are purplish brown in spring, and have a distinctive brown pith. Genus name comes from the Latin word for horn (reference to hard wood). This shrub is also commonly called swamp dogwood in reference to habitat and kinnkinnik (tobacco) in reference to a prior use of shrub bark by Native Americans as tobacco.