Cornaceae (Dogwood) Family
Alternate-leaf Dogwood is also known as Pagoda Cornel, Blue Dogwood, or Green Osier Dogwood.
Plant is an upright shrub or small tree with a short trunk and flat-topped spreading crown of horizontal branches. The twigs may appear red on the top surface and in shaded locations the trunk may also appear reddish. Its preferred habitat is moist soils in the understory of hardwood and coniferous forests. Distribution is occasional in the Escambia region.
The leaves are usually alternate but are occasionally opposite, widest at the middle, finely toothed, with slender leaf stalks; green and nearly hairless above, paler or whitish with pressed hairs beneath. The leaves turn yellow or red in autumn.
The flowers are small, consisting of four white petals in upright branched and flat clusters at the end of a leafy twig. Flowering occurs in late spring.
Fruits are numerous blue/black bitter berries on red stalks. The inner stone is hard. Although the fruits are bitter to humans, they are a favorite of wildlife in the fall and winter.