Members of Cornaceae in North America are usually attractive, moisture-loving deciduous trees and shrubs, and many are used in gardens and landscaping where water is available. Some individual species tend to be limited to their native habitat ranges - mountains, creeks, specific latitudes or altitudes - and some adapt quite freely to gardens almost anywhere.
All members of this family have opposite leaves, often so close together they seem to form a whorl. The 4 - petaled and stamened flowers are small, with the lower part of the 4 - lobed calyx joining the pistil to produce fleshy 2 - seeded fruit.
On Montara Mountain, our local member of Cornaceae is Cornus sericea sericea, the Creek Dogwood.
Flowers: White, tiny, 4 petals; in dense round-topped clusters 2 - 4 inches across.
Blooms: April - May.
Leaves: Oval shapped with pointed tips, in opposite pairs, 2 - 4 inches long, bright or dark green on top, hairy on the underside.
Fruit/Seeds: White balls in umbrella - like clusters in the fall.
Location: Along creeks and moist slopes.
Status: Native - Common.
Further description & Comment: Up to 15 feet tall, deciduous.
Cornus sericea sericea
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|The creek dogwood can be quite showy most of the year - In midwinter, new growth on the trees is a bright shiny red and tipped with new green leaves as in the picture to the left. Combined with the golden new growth of willow, it creates a dazzling creekside display in the winter light.||The white flower clusters developing from the green flower buds (as seen above) follow soon after in spring, to be replaced by the bright white umbrellas of the fruit in fall.|
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