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Publication #ENH343

Cornus drummondii: Roughleaf Dogwood1

Edward F. Gilman and Dennis G. Watson2


This small, spreading, deciduous tree has 1- to 5-inch-long, olive green leaves with paler undersides. During the summer months, roughleaf dogwood produces many off-white, four-petaled, open flowers, and these are followed by many small, round fruits which ripen from August to October. Roughleaf dogwood forms a dense thicket of intertwined branches, making it ideal for use as a hedge, border, or as a cover for wildlife. At least forty species of birds are known to feast upon the fruits.

Figure 1. 

Middle-aged Cornus drummondii: Roughleaf dogwood

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General Information

Scientific name: Cornus drummondii
Pronunciation: KOR-nus drum-AWN-dee-eye
Common name(s): Roughleaf dogwood
Family: Cornaceae
USDA hardiness zones: 4A through 9B (Fig. 2)
Origin: native to North America
Invasive potential: little invasive potential
Uses: deck or patio; container or planter; specimen; tree lawn 4–6 feet wide; tree lawn > 6 ft wide; highway median
Availability: somewhat available, may have to go out of the region to find the tree

Figure 2. 


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]


Height: 15 to 25 feet
Spread: 10 to 15 feet
Crown uniformity: irregular
Crown shape: oval, upright/erect
Crown density: dense
Growth rate: fast
Texture: medium


Leaf arrangement: opposite/subopposite (Fig. 3)
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: entire
Leaf shape: ovate, elliptic (oval)
Leaf venation: pinnate, bowed
Leaf type and persistence: deciduous
Leaf blade length: 2 to 4 inches, 4 to 8 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: purple
Fall characteristic: showy

Figure 3. 


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]


Flower color: white/cream/gray
Flower characteristics: showy


Fruit shape: round
Fruit length: less than .5 inch
Fruit covering: fleshy
Fruit color: white/gray
Fruit characteristics: attracts birds; showy; fruit/leaves not a litter problem

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: branches don't droop; not showy; typically multi-trunked; thorns
Pruning requirement: needed for strong structure
Breakage: resistant
Current year twig color: green, reddish
Current year twig thickness: medium
Wood specific gravity: unknown


Light requirement: full sun, partial sun, or partial shade
Soil tolerances: clay; sand; loam; alkaline; acidic; well-drained
Drought tolerance: high
Aerosol salt tolerance: low


Roots: not a problem
Winter interest: no
Outstanding tree: no
Ozone sensitivity: unknown
Verticillium wilt susceptibility: resistant
Pest resistance: free of serious pests and diseases

Use and Management

Roughleaf dogwood should be grown in full sun on well-drained soils. A partially shaded spot at the edge of the woods is also a suitable location.



This document is ENH343, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date November 1993. Reviewed May 2014. Visit the EDIS website at


Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department; Dennis G. Watson, former associate professor, Agricultural Engineering Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.