TREES & plants

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
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
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)
Mature Height: 
6 to 10 feet high
Mature Width: 
6 to 10 feet wide
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
Acid Soils: 
  • Tolerant
Salt Spray: 
  • Intolerant
Soil Salt: 
  • Intolerant
Drought Conditions: 
  • Moderately Tolerant
Poor Drainage: 
  • Prefers
Ornamental Interest: 
  • Spring blossoms, 
  • Fall color, 
  • Showy fruit, 
  • Showy flowers, 
  • Attractive bark
Season of Interest: 
  • Mid winter, 
  • Late winter, 
  • Mid spring, 
  • Mid summer, 
  • 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.


Cornus amomum or Silky dogwood