The Pagoda dogwood is my favourite native small tree/shrub, one that didn’t obey the Cornus rule of having opposite leaves, hence its other common name as alternate-leaf dogwood. The branches are disposed in horizontal layers with the result of a charming little tree having an open pagoda-like canopy. Its growth form is variable depending mostly on the amount of shade it receives; often grows as a multi stem clump.
White-cream flowers arranged in flat-topped clusters appear in June and are followed by dark-blue drupes on red stalks towards the fall. At the same time, the foliage also starts to change its colour in various shades of red and purple.
Very hardy and reliable, it should not be missing from any garden, big or small, at least in Canada – one Pagoda dogwood and underneath a carpet of large flowered Trillium! The flowers are good for pollinators and the fruits are eaten by a variety of birds and small mammals.
Germination: best sown right away in the fall or in the spring after 2- 3 months of cold/moist stratification. Even so, a few seeds may take two years to break the dormancy.