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(Cornus amomum)
Silky Dogwood

Host Plant: Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon), the Io Moth (Automeris io), and the Cecropia Moth (Hyalophora cecropia)

Nectar Plant: many insects including other butterflies, Andrena bees, wasps, and beetles.

Flower Color: yellow to white

Growth Habit: deciduous small tree

Flowering Time: May to June

Range in North America: Eastern United States west to Mississippi River

Exposure: Prefers full sun to partial shade

Hardiness: Zones 4-8

Soil Requirements: medium to wet well-drained soils

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Silky Dogwood (Cornus amomum)

Flowers of silky dogwood (Cornus amomum).
Flowers of Silky Dogwood (Cornus amomum) — Fritzflohrreynolds, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Alternative Names

Kinnikinnik, Pale Dogwood, Red Willow, Swamp Dogwood, Silky Cornel

Description of Silky Dogwood (Cornus amomum)

Silky Dogwood (Cornus amomum), a member of the Cornaceae (Dogwood Family), is a deciduous shrub that grows from 6′ to 12′ tall and blooms in the spring and early summer (May to June).  This plant grows in places with full sun or partial shade in wet to medium soil conditions and is often found in lowlands, wetlands, and swamp borders.

Hosted Species

Spring Azure Butterfly (Celastrina ladon)

Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon) on a leaf.
Spring Azure Butterfly on Leaf — ALAN SCHMIERER, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Io Moth (Automeris io)

Cecropia Moth (Hyalophora cecropia)

Cecropia moth (Hyalophora cecropia) on a branch.
Cecropia Moth on Branch — Marvin Smith, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Nectar Species

The flowers are enjoyed by Andrena bees.  Birds enjoy the fruits of this species in the fall.


This dogwood grows in shrub swamps and the edges of waterbodies.

Range of Silky Dogwood (Cornus amomum) in the United States and Canada

Range map of silky dogwood (Cornus amomum) in the United States and Canada.
Range map of silky dogwood (Cornus amomum) in the United States and Canada.

Silky Dogwood (Cornus amomum) is native to the eastern United States.

Interesting Facts

The genus name, Cornus, comes from the Latin word, “Cornu” meaning horn (Missouri Botanical Garden).  This describes the tough wood of the members of the genus.  The species name, amomum, is of unknown derivation, but the name is related to having pungent or aromatic properties.

Native Location

Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia

USDA Plant Hardiness Zone

Zone 4, Zone 5, Zone 6, Zone 7, Zone 8


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Silky Dogwood”

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