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TREES & plants

Hybrid flowering dogwood

Flowers of Aurora, a selection of the hybrid flowering dogwood.

Hybrid flowering dogwood, a cross between flowering dogwood and Kousa dogwood, is represented by several cultivars in the trade. Most are white-flowered (Stellar Pink® has pink flowers). These cultivars are resistant to dogwood borer and dogwood anthracnose (a serious disease).

This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.

Botanical name: 
Cornus x rutgersensis (C. florida x C. kousa)
All Common Names: 
hybrid flowering dogwood
Family (English): 
Dogwood
Family (Botanic): 
Cornaceae
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Tree
Foliage: 
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
Native Locale: 
  • Non-native
Planting Site: 
  • Residential and parks, 
  • Under utility lines
Landscape Uses: 
  • Patio/sidewalk, 
  • Specimen, 
  • Utility
Size Range: 
  • Small tree (15-25 feet), 
  • Compact tree (10-15 feet)
Mature Height: 
12-20 feet
Mature Width: 
10-20 feet
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), 
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 5 (Chicago), 
  • Zone 6, 
  • Zone 7, 
  • Zone 8, 
  • Zone 9
Soil Preference: 
  • Acid soil, 
  • Moist, well-drained soil
Acid Soils: 
  • Prefers
Alkaline Soils: 
  • Moderately Tolerant
Salt Spray: 
  • Moderately Tolerant
Soil Salt: 
  • Intolerant
Drought Conditions: 
  • Intolerant
Poor Drainage: 
  • Moderately Tolerant
Planting Considerations: 
  • May be difficult to find in nurseries
Ornamental Interest: 
  • Spring blossoms, 
  • Fall color, 
  • Showy flowers
Season of Interest: 
  • Early spring, 
  • Mid spring, 
  • Late summer, 
  • Early fall, 
  • Mid fall
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Pink, 
  • White
Shape or Form: 
  • Multi-stemmed, 
  • Round
Growth Rate: 
  • Moderate
Transplants Well: 
  • Moderate
Wildlife: 
  • Birds, 
  • Insect pollinators
More Information: 

Tree & Plant Care

Best grown in areas with good drainage.  Prefers acid soils.

Disease, pests, and problems

May not grow to its full potential in wet or alkaline soils.

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

Resistant to dogwood anthracnose, powdery mildew and dogwood borer.

Native geographic location and habitat

Of hybrid origin.

Bark color and texture 

Bark is gray-brown.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Opposite, simple, rounded  leaves with a pointed tip and wavy leaf margins. Veins grow toward tip of leaf without running to the edge.  Fall color is reddish-purple.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Flowers appear large because of the four white or pink bracts. True flowers are clustered in center of bracts.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Clusters of bright red fruit ripen in fall.  Intermediate in size and shape between the fruit of the two parent trees.

Cultivars and their differences 

These cultivars belong to the Stellar® series developed at Rutgers University.

Aurora® (Cornus x rutgersensis 'Rutban') has white floral bracts and flowers very heavily.  This is a vigorous grower and has a form that is more spreading than other white-flowered cultivars.  Shows good resistance to powdery mildew and dogwood anthracnose. Twenty year old specimens are 20 feet high and wide.

Celestial® (Cornus x rutgersensis 'Rutdan') has creamy white floral bracts and flowers heavily.  This is another vigorous cultivar, but with a more upright form.  Shows good resistance to powdery mildew and dogwood anthracnose.

Constellation® (Cornus x rutgersensis 'Rutcan') has creamy white floral bracts and flowers heavily.  This is another vigorous cultivar, but with a very erect form.  Shows good resistance to powdery mildew and dogwood anthracnose.  Twenty year old specimens are 20 feet high and 17 feet wide.

Ruth Ellen® (Cornus x rutgersensis 'Rutlan') has brilliant white floral bracts.  This is another vigorous cultivar.  Shows good resistance to powdery mildew and dogwood anthracnose. 

Stardust® (Cornus x rutgersensis 'Rutfan') has white floral bracts.  This is vigorous cultivar with a low-branching habit, branching low to the ground.  Shows good resistance to powdery mildew and dogwood anthracnose. 

Stellar Pink® (Cornus x rutgersensis 'Rutgan') has pink floral bracts.  This is a vigorous cultivar with an erect habit.  Shows good resistance to powdery mildew and dogwood anthracnose.  Twenty year old specimens are 23 feet high and 18 feet wide.

 

Cornus x rutgersensis (C. florida x C. kousa) or Hybrid flowering dogwood

We do not seem to have this in our living collection.