A Well-Behaved Native Shrub for Wildlife

I had photos of the fruit from this shrub, the gray dogwood, (cornus racemosa) on the blog last August.  I was fortunate to get photos at all because the fruit is very quickly consumed by the birds–it is even more quickly eaten than the fruit of the flowering dogwood, cornus florida.

This flower cluster will mature into bunches of white berries that will quickly be consumed.

While mine grow at the edge of a woodland (which is probably obvious from the photos) the literature says that they will grow in sun or shade and are very adaptable about soil.  Since I have heavy clay over rock ledge I can attest to that.

Some of the online sources I read said that they are sometimes sold as standards trained to a single trunk but I confess in my part of country I rarely see them being sold at all–perhaps at very specialized garden centers that specialize in native or woodland plants but not at most garden centers, even the larger ones.

I confess that I did not put mine in; they were here when The Spoiler bought the property.  In fact, in my early days, I thought they might be snowberry until I studied them more closely.

As I mentioned earlier, the berries are very attractive to the birds. My online resources (and when I mention these, folks, quite often what I’m using are Ag school bulletins.  I know that those are reputable.  Occasionally I will rely on a catalog if it’s one I know and trust–and of course I’ll cite to Wikipedia if I’m using it basically to confirm knowledge that I already have–but otherwise I try to stick to fairly “staid” online resources) suggest that the berries are consumed by squirrels, chipmunks and deer as well.  I have no reason to doubt that–but in my yard, I doubt there are any berries left for them by the time the birds are through!

So if you’d like a berrying shrub to feed your birds, this is a great one to do it–just be warned that it may be a little hard to find depending on what part of the country you are in!

2 thoughts on “A Well-Behaved Native Shrub for Wildlife

  1. Laurrie June 14, 2011 / 1:56 pm

    Berkshire Botanical Garden has several very nice cornus racemosa plants pruned up to look more like small trees than shrubs. They were slender, artistically vase shaped, and very pretty, just leafing out when we saw them this spring. Add to that the flowers and berries you mention, and fall color too! A great little dogwood.

    • gardendaze June 14, 2011 / 7:34 pm

      Oh, good to know. Yes, I’ve always wondered why I don’t see this more places–perhaps I just overlook it unless its flowering or berrying. With the recent rain, all the flowers are now gone and it’s completely unassuming in it’s shrub form. But I know I’d notice those berries! I think it’s just hard to find if you want to buy it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s