Stiff Dogwood
(Swamp Dogwood - Stiff Cornel - Red Dogwood)
Cornus stricta - Lam. Syn: C. foemina
Cornaceae (Dogwood) Family

Plant is an upright shrub, rarely a small tree, with a short trunk, spreading, and scrubby. Winter twigs turn red in autumn and the shrub produces a bluish fruit, giving rise to its reference as "Red Dogwood." Its preferred habitat is stream banks, slopes and the margin of flood plains. Distribution is throughout the Escambia River region.

The leaves are opposite on the stem, clustered at the end of twigs, 2 to 4 inches long, 1 to 2 inches wide, widest at the middle, appears to have no margin teeth, but tiny teeth are evident under magnification. There will be 5 to 6 long curved veins on each side of the midvein. The leaf stalks are slender, green and nearly hairless above, paler or whitish with pressed hairs beneath. Leaves turn red or yellow in autumn.

The flowers are about 1/4 inch wide, with four spreading white petals in an upright branched and flat cluster. Flowers occur in the spring.

This dogwood is easily recognized by the rough, upper leaf surfaces and red twigs.

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