Plant of the Day – Cornus wilsoniana

Cornus wilsoniana makes a lovely small tree which is unfortunately not grown in landscapes.

Cornus wilsoniana makes a lovely small tree which is unfortunately not grown in landscapes.

Dogwoods are great plants but most people don’t realize what a diverse group they are.  Many gardeners know about our native flowering dogwood, the Asian kousa dogwood, and some of the red twigged shrubby species.  However the genus is quite diverse with ground-covering plants and large trees.  One of my favorites in this group is Wilson’s dogwood or ghost dogwood – Cornus wilsoniana.  This species can be grown as a multi-stem small tree or a single trunk specimen.  It has large clusters of small white flowers in spring which give rise to blue-black fruits in fall.  The foliage stays clean over the summer without powdery mildew or leaf spot but unfortunately most plants in cultivation do not have good fall color (we are evaluating some new germplasm that may have improved color).  My favorite feature of this species is the fantastic ghost-white bark.  Wilson’s dogwood appears to be perfectly hardy and should grow well in sun or shade.

The peeling bark on the JCRA's tree.

The peeling bark on the JCRA’s tree.

A beautiful single trunked specimen I found in China.

A beautiful single trunked specimen I found in China.

Follow me at @jcramark because life is too short for boring plants.

Large clusters of creamy white flowers appear in spring.

Large clusters of creamy white flowers appear in spring.

Check out all the happenings, see more images, and learn more at the JC Raulston Arboretum where we are Planting a Better World.

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