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Pacific Dogwood · Cornus nuttallii
Description: Deciduous, broadleaved trees, generally 20-30, sometimes up to 60 ft. in height.Compact heads of flowers are subtended by showy white bracts in spring before leaves open (sometimes again in fall). The bracts give the impression of a delicate large white flower. A native beauty - the gorgeous white bracts stand out in the forest understory and in residential areas where the trees have been allowed to remain or have been planted. Scarlet fall color! Protect the bark from sunburn by leaving lower limbs and planting a protective ring of plants around the trunk. Pacific Dogwood is susceptible to anthracnose. Many believe its beauty is well worth the risk - plant it where it will enjoy the partial afternoon shade of overhanging conifers, and protect the bark from damage. Part sun, low-moderate water, excellent drainage. Native to moist woods from the Pacific Coast to the Cascade Mountains, and south from British Columbia to California.
Lewis and Clark described the Pacific Dogwood in their journals on April 5, 1806, from the Sandy River near what is now Troutdale: "The dogwood grows abundantly on the uplands in this neighbourhood. it differs from that of the United States in the appearance of it's bark which is much smoother, it also arrives here to much greater size than I ever observed it elsewhere sometimes the stem is nearly 2 feet in diameter." Clark wrote: "... the red flowering Current is found here in considerable quantities on the upland, and the Common Dog wood is found on either Side of the river in this neighbourhood and above Multnomah [Willamette] river."