Swida (Cornus) alternifolia
Alternate-leaf dogwood is an understory shrub that has huge visual impact in a home landscape. With its branches spreading out horizontally it appears nearly as wide as it is tall. This tall shrub prefers cool, moist soils, and will thrive in partial shade.
The bright green leaves will fill out in the spring atop reddish-brown branches, and by early summer the star-shaped creamy white flowers will be in full bloom, releasing a strong, sweet fragrance that will attract a bevy of pollinators. In the fall, the blossoms give way to deep-colored berries and the leaves turn maroon. While not edible for humans, the berries are a valuable food source for many types of wildlife. Swida alternifolia (the leaves are alternate rather than opposite as with other dogwoods) is the larval host plant for the Spring Azure butterfly.
ECO-TYPE: grown from seed likely collected in New Hampshire. Started by New Hampshire State Forest Nursery.
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