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Rough-leaved dogwood

Leaves and fruit of rough-leaved dogwood.

Rough-leaved dogwood is a native large shrub or small tree, often mistaken for gray dogwood.  Named for the rough textured leaves, it has fleshy white fruit, dark green foliage that turns burgundy red fall color. Best used for naturalizing in moist areas. May be difficult to find in nurseries.

Botanical name:

Cornus drummondii

All common names:

Rough-leaved dogwood, roughleaf dogwood

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Tree or Plant Type:

  • Shrub,
  • Tree

Native Locale:

  • Illinois,
  • North America

Landscape Uses:

  • Massing,
  • Screen,
  • Shade tree

Size Range:

  • Small tree (15-25 feet),
  • Large shrub (more than 8 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

Soil Preference:

  • Moist, well-drained soil


  • Wet sites,
  • Occasional flooding

Seasons of Interest:

  • late spring,
  • late summer,
  • early fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • White

Shape or Form:

  • Broad,
  • Multi-stemmed,
  • Round,
  • Thicket-forming

Growth Rate:

  • Fast

More Information:

Tree & Plant Care

Full sun to part shade in well-drained to moist soil. Tolerant of most soil types from wet to dry.
Plant tends to sucker and form colonies.

Disease, pests, and problems

Stem cankers, leaf spots, powdery mildew, aphids

Native geographic location and habitat

C-Value: 2

Found along wood edge borders, roadsides, stream banks in Great Plains, Midwest and along the Mississippi River.

Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife

Flowers attract many pollinators and fruits attract birds.

Bark color and texture 

First year twigs are reddish brown, eventually turning gray. Pith color is white or tan, darkening with age of stem.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Opposite, 4 inches long and 2 inches wide. Upper surface is dark green with small hairs, giving it a rough touch. Underside is lighter and has small hairs.
Margins are wavy. Fall color is a dark burgundy red.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Flowers are 2-inch wide clusters of creamy white flowers at ends on branches. They appear in early-to-mid June.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Fleshy, 1/4 inch diameter, white fruit with bright orange-red pedicel.

Location of Cornus drummondii (Rough-leaved dogwood) at the Arboretum