Cornus racemosa

Common name: Gray Dogwood

Native plant

Gray Dogwood is a much-maligned shrub by restoration groups because it is hard to eradicate and suckers freely. The use of fire in prairie management actually encourages the suckering of Gray Dogwood and many other native trees and shrubs. To say that Gray Dogwood is tough is an understatement. It can tolerate light shade but does best in full sun. It grows in wet or dry soils and even grows great in sand. Not only does this plant have outstanding restoration uses, but it thrives on compacted constructions sites as well. The dogwood has white flowers in May that turn to white fruit on red panicles, which birds relish, in the fall. Locally-collected seed produces plants with early fall color of maroon-red which lasts for 2 weeks. It is a great plant to be massed in shrub borders. Many of the plants sold in the trade as Gray Dogwood are really Rough-Leaved Dogwood, which is much bigger and has no fall color.


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Price Level: 
Woodies- Standard Shrub
Sizing Options: 
1 Gallon
5 Gallon

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Plant Details

Plant type


Soil type

Dry Mesic, Mesic (Not too Wet Not too Dry), Moist Mesic

Light exposure

Full Sun, Partial Sun / Part Shade

Bloom period


Urban environment

Uncompacted Urban Soils, Harsh Exposure Tolerant, Compacted/New Construction Soils, Road-side/Salt Tolerant, Yards that Flood


Moist Woods, Prairie Grasslands, Savannas, Woodlands

Growth form

Shrubby/Clump, Colonizing / Spreading

Growth rate


Flower color


Fall color



Mature height
6 Feet
Mature width
5 Feet
Max height
12 Feet
Max width
8 Feet

Additional information

Butterfly host plant Loved by birds Pollinator hot spot

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