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Illinois Native Plant Guide - Gray Dogwood - Pages 68-69

Illinois Native Plant Guide

Gray Dogwood
Cornus racemosa

Preferred Water Depth and Inundation Tolerance

Prefers moist to saturated soil. Inundation of 2-4 inches is tolerated for short durations.

Wildlife Value

Fruits are eaten by birds. Provides browse and food for deer, beaver, pheasant, rabbit, woodchuck, raccoon, and squirrel. Also provides cover for American woodcock.


Used in upper shoreline zones, for streambank stabilization, and for upland slope buffers.

Availability, Establishment, and Maintenance

  • Seed germinates easily only after scarification.
  • Shrub spreads by underground stems to form round 8-12 feet wide colonies.
  • Easily rooted from cuttings.
  • Has a fast growth rate. Shoots grow 3 to 6 feet in one season. This species can become too aggressive.

Gray Dogwood
Cornus racemosa

Mature Height
Up to 8 feetGray Dogwood

Plant Type
Deciduous multistemmed shrub

Indicator Status
[Facultative Wet (-)]


Nutrient Load Tolerance
Moderate to high

Salt Tolerance

Siltation Tolerance
Moderate to high

Flowering Color and Time
June to August

Light Preference
Partial to full sun

Seeding Rate
Not applicable

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