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CORNUS controversa

Image of Cornus controversa

Jesse Saylor

Family

Cornaceae

Botanical Name

CORNUS controversa

Plant Common Name

Giant Dogwood, Wedding Cake Tree

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Largest of the world's dogwood trees, and perhaps the fastest growing, giant dogwood has flat clusters of white flowers in spring that are followed by purplish fruits. A medium-sized deciduous tree from the mid-elevations across much of China and the Himalayas, this upright plant with eventually spreading branches may also be native to the mountains in Indochina, Korea and Japan. Its smooth bark is dark gray to yellow-gray with purplish young twigs.

The foliage is a pleasing mid-green, and each leaf is broad but also lance- or heart-shaped with nearly parallel veins. Leaves are arranged alternately on the twigs. In late spring, large flattened clusters of white, four-petaled blossoms are found across the tiered branches. After insect pollination the small fruits form, becoming purple-blue and finally nearly blue-black when ripe and tasty to songbirds. Fall foliage can be variable, most often pale yellow-green, but pleasing tones of red-purple can occur, too.

Grow giant dogwood in full to partial sun in a moist, organic-rich, well-draining soil that is not alkaline in pH. It is best in regions with cool to warm summers; hot summer areas should provide the plant with light shade and definitely mulch the tree's root zone to keep soil cool and moist. Use it as a specimen shade and flowering tree for a spacious lawn on a campus or park. It is truly pretty when in full bloom, giving credence to the descriptive name of "wedding cake tree".

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    5 - 8

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    35'-50' / 10.7m - 15.2m

  • Width

    20'-30' / 6.1m - 9.1m

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer

  • Native To

    India, Nepal, China, Japan, Korea

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Ivory

  • Fruit Color

    Burgundy, Dark Blue, Black

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Light Yellow, Burgundy, Dark Red

  • Bark Color

    Tan, Gray, Slate Gray

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Shade Trees, Street Trees

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    No