Random Plant: Roughleaf dogwood

Roughleaf dogwood (Cornus drummondii, Cornaceae) photographed 06/16/2011 near Blissfield Michigan.

Judging by the literature I’ve read on Michigan flora, it seems that the most common dogwoods (Cornus sp., Cornaceae) in this area are supposed to be flowering dogwood (C. florida) and redosier dogwood (C. sericea).  In the areas I most frequently visit, however, there are two other dogwoods that seem more common.  Last fall I wrote about a gray dogwood (C. racemosa), and this past week I discovered there also seems to be a lot of roughleaf dogwood (C. drummondii) in the immediate area.

Roughleaf dogwood (Cornus drummondii, Cornaceae) photographed 06/16/2011 near Blissfield Michigan.

Roughleaf dogwood gets its name from the sandpaper-like surfaces of the leaves (Kershner et al. 2008).  In the photo above you can see many short, stiff hairs that give the leaves their texture.  The undersides of the leaves are densely covered in softer hairs, giving them a more velvety feel:

Roughleaf dogwood (Cornus drummondii, Cornaceae) photographed 06/16/2011 near Blissfield Michigan.

The clusters of small, white, four-petaled flowers appear from late spring into the summer.  They seem to attract many different pollinators.  The soldier beetle (Coleoptera:  Cantharidae) shown below was just one of many I found.

Roughleaf dogwood (Cornus drummondii, Cornaceae) photographed 06/16/2011 near Blissfield Michigan.

Following pollination, the flowers develop into small white fruit in late summer and autumn.  The fruit are important food for birds, who also frequently nest in these shrubs (Kershner et al. 2008).

Literature cited:

Kershner, B., D. Mathews, G. Nelson, and R. Spellenberg.  2008.  National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Trees of North America.  Sterling Publishing Company, Inc., New York, NY.

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About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Botany, Ecology, Random Plant and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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