Cornus nuttallii

Common Name:
Western dogwood
Plant Type:
Deciduous tree
Cornaceae (The Dogwood Family)
Geographic Origin:
California Native?:
Plant Size:
20 feet+
Landscape/Garden Uses:
shade gardens
Flowering Season:
Flower Color:
Light shade
Light acid soil
Suggested Irrigation:
Moderate watering
Estimated Hardiness:
Hardy to 0 degrees F. or less
This is certainly one of our most beautiful native trees, though maddeningly unpredictable in the landscape. Where it thrives, it can reach 30-50 feet in time. Though usually strongly upright in growth, it has tiers of horizontal side branches similar to those of the eastern dogwood. The leaves are large and broad, making a beautiful foil for spectacular white blossoms, with bract-circles up to 6 inches broad, in late spring. Soft pink and orange shades create another spectacle in the fall, as leaves prepare to drop. It clearly needs well drained, acid soil to succeed, and young plants should be shaded to hold down soil temperatures. 0 degrees F or less.