Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Cornus racemosa


SPECIES: Cornus racemosa
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Coladonato, Milo. 1993. Cornus racemosa. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].
ABBREVIATION : CORRAC SYNONYMS : Cornus foemina ssp. racemosa SCS PLANT CODE : CORA6 COMMON NAMES : gray dogwood grey dogwood gray-stemmed dogwood panicled dogwood TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name of gray dogwood is Cornus racemosa Lam. [16]. Some authorities consider C. racemosa a subspecies of Cornus foemina [8,10]. Little [17], however, considers it a distinct species. LIFE FORM : Tree, Shrub FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Cornus racemosa
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Gray dogwood's main range is from Maine and southern Ontario; south through New England and Pennyslvania; and west to Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, and Minnesota.  Its southern range is from the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia to northern Arkansas. Disjunct populations also occur in North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, North and South Dakota, and Nebraska [2,10,17,30]. ECOSYSTEMS :    FRES10  White - red - jack pine    FRES11  Spruce - fir    FRES15  Oak - hickory    FRES17  Elm - ash - cottonwood    FRES18  Maple - beech - birch    FRES19  Aspen - birch STATES :      AR  CT  DE  IL  IN  IA  KY  ME  MD  MA      MI  MN  MO  NE  NH  NJ  NY  NC  ND  OH      OK  PA  RI  SC  SD  TN  VT  VA  WV  WI      MB  ON  PQ BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : NO-ENTRY KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS :    K093  Great Lakes spruce - fir forest    K095  Great Lakes pine forest    K096  Northeastern spruce - fir forest    K099  Maple - basswood forest    K100  Oak - hickory forest    K102  Beech - maple forest    K101  Elm - ash forest    K103  Mixed mesophytic forest    K104  Appalachian oak forest    K106  Northern hardwoods    K108  Northern hardwoods - spruce forest    K110  Northeastern oak - pine forest SAF COVER TYPES :     17  Pin cherry     19  Gray birch - red maple     20  White pine - northern red oak - red maple     21  Eastern white pine     22  White pine - hemlock     23  Eastern hemlock     24  Hemlock - yellow birch     25  Sugar maple - beech - yellow birch     26  Sugar maple - basswood     27  Sugar maple     28  Black cherry - maple     30  Red spruce - yellow birch     31  Red spruce - sugar maple - beech     32  Red spruce     33  Red spruce - balsam fir     34  Red spruce - Fraser fir     35  Paper birch - red spruce - balsam fir     37  Northern white-cedar     39  Black ash - American elm - red maple     42  Bur oak     43  Bear oak     44  Chestnut oak     52  White oak - black oak - northern red oak     53  White oak     55  Northern red oak     57  Yellow-poplar     58  Yellow-poplar - eastern hemlock     59  Yellow-poplar - white oak - northern red oak     60  Beech - sugar maple     62  Silver maple - American elm     64  Sassafras - persimmon    107  White spruce    108  Red maple    110  Black oak SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Gray dogwood is one of the dominant shrubs in the oak-hickory (Quercus-Carya) forests of the northeastern United States.  Common codominants include maple-leaved viburnum (Viburnum acerifolium) and Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia).  Other common associates of gray dogwood include American hazel (Corylus americana), beaked hazelnut (C. cornuta), chokecherry (Prunus virginiana), smooth sumac (Rhus glabra), and red raspberry (Rubus idaeus) [3,23,26].


SPECIES: Cornus racemosa
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : In Missouri, Ohio, and Illinois, gray dogwood is one of the most important forage plants for white-tailed deer [5,19,24].  The seeds and buds are a favorite food for ring-necked pheasant and northern bobwhite in southern Michigan [28]. Gray dogwood thickets provide cover for a variety of birds and mammals [2,6,14]. PALATABILITY : NO-ENTRY NUTRITIONAL VALUE : NO-ENTRY COVER VALUE : NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : Gray dogwood is well adapted for revegetating disturbed sites.  It is easily established by direct seedling and grows rapidly [11,29].  It has been successfully planted for revegetating highway corridors in Wisconsin and coal mine spoils in the eastern United States [11,28,29]. OTHER USES AND VALUES : Gray dogwood has been planted for ornamental purposes because of its showy flowers, fruits, and attractive fall coloring [2]. OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Cornus racemosa
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Gray dogwood is a native, deciduous, rhizomatous shrub, usually from 4 to 10 feet (1.2-3.0 m) high.  It sometimes becomes a small tree up to 27 feet (8 m) high [17].  It has ascending stems and branches that often form impenetrable dome-shaped clusters or thickets [4].  The leaves are 2.5 to 4.0 inches (6.0-10 cm) long, and the flowers are borne in open, irregular cymes.  The individual fruits enclose a single stone and occur in clusters [2,6,14]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM :       Phanerophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Gray dogwood reproduces both sexually and asexually.  It begins producing seed at about 4 to 5 years of age and produces an abundant amount of seed every year.  Gray dogwood reproduces vegetatively by sprouting from underground rhizomes [22,29]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Gray dogwood grows on a variety of sites within its range.  It is found in meadows, open woodlands, riparian zones, along roadsides, and forest margins.  It grows best on rich, moist, well-drained soils, but will also grow on mineral-rich limestone bedrock and rock outcroppings.  In Appalachian oak-hickory forests, it usually occurs on open ridgetops and south- and west-facing slopes [1,10,16]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Facultative Seral Species Gray dogwood is an early to mid-seral species [12,20].  It is most common in understories of mixed, open forests and grows best in moderate to full sunlight [18].  In southwestern Wisconsin, aboveground growth rates of gray dogwood were greater in open habitats than in forest understories [12]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Gray dogwood flowers from May through July, with fruits maturing from August through October [4,14].  Leaves emerge in early April and abscise in late October [13].


SPECIES: Cornus racemosa
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Postfire regeneration strategies of grey dogwood are not documented in the literature.  It probably survives fire by sprouting from rhizomes. It also produces an abundance of soil-stored seed [23], which may germinate after fire. FIRE REGIMES : Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes". POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY :    Rhizomatous shrub, rhizome in soil    Ground residual colonizer (on-site, initial community)    Initial-offsite colonizer (off-site, initial community)


SPECIES: Cornus racemosa
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Aboveground plant parts are often killed by fire [25,26].  The underground rhizomes probably survive all but severe fires that remove duff and heat the upper soil for extended periods of time. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Percent cover of native shrubs, including gray dogwood, decreased following fire in a bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa) savanna in east-central Minnesota [26]. In a study of postfire plant response in four plant communities in central New York, gray dogwood frequency on 17 burned plots averaged 62 percent at postfire year 1.  Frequency on unburned plots was 62 percent [25]. The Research Paper by Bowles and others 2007 provides information on postfire responses of several plant species, including gray dogwood, that was not available when this species review was originally written. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : NO-ENTRY FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Cornus racemosa
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American Journal of Botany. 71(6):        787-794.  [8544] 19.  Nixon, Charles M.; McClain, Milford W.; Russell, Kenneth R. 1970. Deer        food habits and range characteristics in Ohio. Journal of Wildlife        Management. 34(4): 870-886.  [16398] 20.  Olson, Jerry S. 1958. Rates of succession and soil changes on southern        Lake Michigan sand dunes. Botanical Gazette. 119(3): 125-170.  [10557] 21.  Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant        geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p.  [2843] 22.  Stickney, Peter F. 1989. Seral origin of species originating in northern        Rocky Mountain forests. Unpublished draft on file at: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire        Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT; RWU 4403 files. 7 p.  [20090] 23.  Smith, Albert J. 1975. Invasion and ecesis of bird-disseminated woody        plants in a temperate forest sere. Ecology. 56(1): 19-34.  [15667] 24.  Strole, Todd A.; Anderson, Roger C. 1992. White-tailed deer browsing:        species preferences and implications for central Illinois forests.        Natural Areas Journal. 12(3): 139-144.  [19494] 25.  Swan, Frederick R., Jr. 1970. Post-fire response of four plant        communities in south-central New York state. Ecology. 51(6): 1074-1082.        [3446] 26.  Tester, John R. 1989. Effects of fire frequency on oak savanna in        east-central Minnesota. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 116(2):        134-144.  [9281] 27.  U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service. 1982.        National list of scientific plant names. Vol. 1. List of plant names.        SCS-TP-159. Washington, DC. 416 p.  [11573] 28.  Van Dersal, William R. 1938. Native woody plants of the United States,        their erosion-control and wildlife values. Washington, DC: U.S.        Department of Agriculture. 362 p.  [4240] 29.  Vogel, Willis G. 1981. A guide for revegetating coal minespoils in the        eastern United States. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-68. Broomall, PA: U.S.        Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest        Experiment Station. 190 p.  [15577] 30.  Voss, Edward G. 1985. Michigan flora. Part II. Dicots        (Saururaceae--Cornaceae). Bull. 59. Bloomfield Hills, MI: Cranbrook        Institute of Science; Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Herbarium.        724 p.  [11472]