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Gray Dogwood A Bird Magnet In The Fall

Due to its ability to reproduce clonally (asexually), Gray Dogwood (Cornus racemosa) often occurs in thickets – you rarely see one shrub all by itself.  In the fall it is the first of several species of dogwood to have its fruit ripen; as a result Gray Dogwoods are magnets for birds, including migrants, and is visited by over 100 species.  Its red fruit stems (panicles) persist long after the fruit has been eaten and leaves have fallen, providing a noticeable splash of color well into the fall.  (Photo: Red-eyed Vireo feeding on Gray Dogwood berries)

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9 responses

  1. Janet Crystal

    Thank you for this post. I have been looking for native plants for my (wooded) back yard. This one fits the bill perfectly I’ve ordered three!!

    October 4, 2021 at 8:21 am

  2. Marcia Kilpatrick

    Beautiful photo

    October 4, 2021 at 8:28 am

  3. Alice

    Perfect photo! Happy Vireo.

    October 4, 2021 at 9:11 am

    • Alice

      The flowers, in a photo online, look like Witherod Vibernum…which smells so awesome.

      October 4, 2021 at 9:19 am

  4. Susan Holland

    Love this photo ~ and love that I was there when you took it!!!

    October 4, 2021 at 10:15 am

  5. Kat Coriell

    Hi Mary, Here in southern Maine, we have Cornus alternifolia (Alternate-leaf, or Pagoda, DW), Cornus sericea (Red Osier DW), a very few Cornus florida (only southern tip of the state), and lots of Kousa Dogwood (import, very hardy and pretty flowers). But I have never heard of the Gray DW, nor is it in the book “Forest Trees of Maine” by the ME Forest Service.

    Is the Gray DW only south of us? Thanks, nice post and pic! Rarely get to see the Red-eyed Vireo, although we hear them all summer. Kat

    October 4, 2021 at 2:27 pm

    • Hi Kat,
      Cornus racemosa, gray dogwood, is found throughout New England, including Maine, down as far as Pennsylvania. Not sure why the ME Forest Service wouldn’t have it listed!

      October 4, 2021 at 4:58 pm

    • Janet Crystal

      I wanted to buy Cornus florida on the Cape, but one nursery said they don’t carry it because it is so prone to anthracnose. They recommend the Kousa instead.

      July 5, 2022 at 11:15 am

  6. Janet Crystal

    Thank you so much for posting this. As a result, I bought three plugs from the Cooperative Extension on Cape Cod and have the perfect location for them in my back yard / woods. The local birds are currently working the raspberries and these will be right behind them, ready for them in the fall!

    July 5, 2022 at 11:13 am

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