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CORNUS nuttallii 'Monarch'

Image of Cornus nuttallii 'Monarch'

Family

Cornaceae

Botanical Name

CORNUS nuttallii 'Monarch'

Plant Common Name

Mountain Dogwood, Nuttall's Dogwood, Pacific Dogwood

General Description

Three things make 'Monarch' stand out against other mountain dogwoods: it has a wonderful broad conical habit, extra large ivory spring blooms and outstanding purplish red and yellow fall color. The new stems also have a purplish hue.

Few trees can match the beauty of a mountain dogwood in full bloom. Snowy flowers perch on the spring branches of this medium-sized deciduous tree like butterflies. Native from California up to British Columbia, this understory beauty thrives beneath the canopies of much larger trees, such as coast redwood and Douglas fir.

The tiered, horizontal branches of mountain dogwood bear large, rounded blooms in spring, each comprising four to seven large, oval bracts surrounding a cluster of small, yellowish flowers. The ivory bracts sometimes age to light pink. Plants may rebloom sparsely in late-summer. In fall, bright orange fruits develop that are relished by birds. Fall leaf color can be quite striking turning russeted shades of yellow, red and orange.

Mountain dogwood prefers partial shade and well-drained, humus-rich soil with a slightly acid pH. It does poorly in the eastern United States because it requires relatively dry summers. This tree is highly susceptible to the common fungal disease dogwood anthracnose, which has decimated wild populations and garden specimens alike leading to its scarcity in nurseries. Cornus nuttallii hybrids, such as Cornus VenusĀ®, have better disease resistance.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 7

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    5 - 8

  • Sunset Zone

    3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    20'-50' / 6.1m - 15.2m

  • Width

    15'-25' / 4.6m - 7.6m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Spring, Late Spring, Late Summer

  • Native To

    Northwestern United States, California, Canada

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Light Pink

  • Fruit Color

    Orange

  • Fruit Color Modifier

    Bicolor

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Yellow

  • Bark Color

    Brown, Sandy Brown

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • 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

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Shade Trees

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    No