Pagoda Dogwood



Swida alternifolia (syn. Cornus alternifolia)


Soil:  Acidic, Well-drained
Light:  Full Sun to Shade
Moisture:  Moist
Plant Height: 15 to 25 feet
Plant Width:  20 to 30 feet
Pests:  None
Landscape Value:  Great as a specimen tree or in small groupings.  Good in borders, woodland gardens, and naturalized areas.

Wonderful specimen tree with a distinctive tiered pagoda-like form.  Twigs are green to purplish often with white stripes.  Unlike other dogwoods, leaves are alternate rather than opposite on the stems.  Fall foliage is yellow to red-purple.  Flat-topped clusters of fragrant cream-colored flowers, held upright along horizontally tiered branches, produce black-purple fruits savored by wildlife.   Fruits are an important food for birds preparing for fall migration.  Winter appeal with interesting branching pattern and light brownish-grey bark.  Susceptible to leaf spot and leaf and twig blight.  Tolerates poor soils, clay, and black walnut.  Attracts ground and songbirds, small mammals, butterflies, and native bees. Larval host to Spring Azure butterflies.

2 gallon pot

Photo credits:
Cofrin Center for Biodiversity at University of WI-Green Bay (photo by Gary Fewless)
Horticulture Magazine (photo by Peter Dzuik)
University of Maine Cooperative Extension (photo by Reeser C. Manley)