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SPECIES:  Cornus alternifolia
Alternateleaf dogwood. Creative Commons image by Paul Wray, Iowa State University,



SPECIES: Cornus alternifolia
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Coladonato, Milo. 1994. Cornus alternifolia. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].
ABBREVIATION : CORALT SYNONYMS : NO-ENTRY NRCS PLANT CODE : COAL2 COMMON NAMES : alternateleaf dogwood TAXONOMY : The scientific name for alternateleaf dogwood is Cornus alternifolia L.f. (Cornaceae) [13]. There are no recognized infrataxa. Alternateleaf dogwood hybridizes with red-osier dogwood (C. sericea) [13]. LIFE FORM : Tree, Shrub FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Cornus alternifolia
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Alternateleaf dogwood occurs from Newfoundland through the New England States to the Florida Panhandle. It extends west to the northern shores of Lake Superior and eastern Minnesota and south through the Midwest States to Arkansas and Mississippi [6,21,27].
Distribution of alternateleaf dogwood. 1977 USDA, Forest Service map digitized by Thompson and others [37].
   FRES10  White - red - jack pine
   FRES11  Spruce - fir
   FRES13  Loblolly - shortleaf pine
   FRES14  Oak - pine
   FRES15  Oak - hickory
   FRES17  Elm - ash - cottonwood
   FRES18  Maple - beech - birch
   FRES19  Aspen - birch

     AL  AR  CT  DE  FL  GA  IL  IN  IA  KY
     ME  MD  MA  MI  MN  MS  MO  NH  NJ  NY
     NC  OH  PA  RI  SC  TN  VT  VA  WV  WI
     MB  NB  NF  ON  PQ  NS


   K093  Great Lakes spruce - fir forest
   K095  Great Lakes pine forest
   K096  Northeastern spruce - fir forest
   K097  Southeastern spruce - fir forest
   K100  Oak - hickory forest
   K101  Elm - ash forest
   K102  Beech - maple forest
   K103  Mixed mesophytic forest
   K104  Appalachian oak forest
   K106  Northern hardwoods
   K107  Northern hardwoods - fir forest
   K108  Northern hardwoods - spruce forest
   K110  Northeastern oak - pine forest
   K111  Oak - hickory - pine forest
   K112  Southern mixed forest

     1  Jack pine
     5  Balsam fir
    16  Aspen
    17  Pin cherry
    21  Eastern white pine
    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
    39  Black ash - American elm - red maple
    42  Bur oak
    46  Eastern redcedar
    52  White oak - black oak - northern red oak
    53  White oak
    57  Yellow-poplar
    58  Yellow-poplar - eastern hemlock
    60  Beech - sugar maple
    62  Silver maple - American elm
    70  Longleaf pine
    80  Loblolly pine - shortleaf pine
    81  Loblolly pine
    82  Loblolly pine - hardwood
    93  Sugarberry - American elm - green ash


Alternateleaf dogwood is an understory dominant in the northeastern
United States and in the sugar maple (Acer saccharum) forest of the
Great Lakes region [8,16,18].

Common associates of alternateleaf dogwood include chokecherry (Prunus
virginiana), American hazel (Corylus americana), hazelnut (C. cornuta),
mountain maple (Acer spicatum), striped maple (A. pennsylvanicum), black
cherry (Prunus serotina), serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis),
mountain-laurel (Kalmia latifolia), huckleberries (Vaccinium spp.), and
dogwoods (Cornus spp.) [2,18,21].


SPECIES: Cornus alternifolia
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : At least 11 species of birds including ruffed grouse eat alternateleaf dogwood. Black bear also eat the fruit. The leaves and stems are eaten by white-tailed deer, cottontail rabbits, and beavers [7,15,22,30]. PALATABILITY : NO-ENTRY NUTRITIONAL VALUE : NO-ENTRY COVER VALUE : Alternateleaf dogwood provides cover for many small birds and animals [21]. VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : NO-ENTRY OTHER USES AND VALUES : NO-ENTRY OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Cornus alternifolia
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Alternateleaf dogwood is a large shrub or small tree that may reach 25 to 30 feet (7.5-9 m) in height [5,14,25]. The trunk forks near the ground into several branches that spread horizontally in layers. The bark is thin. The alternate leaves occur mainly at the end of the twigs. The fruit is a drupe [10,17,21,31]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Phanerophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : The dogwood species reproduce by layering, sprouting from the root crown, and by seed [21,30]. The seed is dispersed by gravity and animals. Germination is delayed due to embryo dormancy [21]. Alternateleaf dogwood is vegetatively propagated [21]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Alternateleaf dogwood grows best on well-drained deep soils. It is found in moist woodlands, along forest margins, on stream and swamp borders, and near deep canyon bottoms [1,16,21]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Facultative Seral Species Alternateleaf dogwood is shade-tolerant [9,20]. It is a dominant understory species in mature forest in New England, and a late-successional understory shrub in the aspen (Populus spp.) and sugar maple forests of Michigan [21,26]. Alternateleaf dogwood also occurs in younger tree stands. It was a dominant shrub species in a 49-year-old aspen stand and an 18-year-old aspen stand in northern Minnesota [32]. Alternateleaf dogwood had a density of 54 stems per hectare in a 20- to 30-year-old burn in North Carolina [36]. Alternateleaf dogwood occurs in both young (age <41 years) and old (age >40 years) oak (Quercus spp.) clearcuts in southwestern Wisconsin [33]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Alternateleaf dogwood flowers from May to July. The fruit ripens from July through September [4,20].


SPECIES: Cornus alternifolia
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Fire survival and postfire regeneration strategies for alternateleaf dogwood are not well documented in the literature. If the roots or stems survive fire, it may reproduce vegetatively. Alternateleaf dogwood may colonize fire disturbed sites with animal-dispersed seed [26]. POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : Tall shrub, adventitious-bud root crown Secondary colonizer - off-site seed 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".


SPECIES: Cornus alternifolia
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Fires probably top-kills alternateleaf dogwood. PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : No specific information is available on fire response of alternateleaf dogwood. Since it sprouts from the root crown, it probably does so after top-kill by fire. Perala [23] reported that alternateleaf dogwood was "encouraged" by prescribed fire in an aspen-mixed hardwood forest in north-central Minnesota, but no details were given. FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Cornus alternifolia
REFERENCES : 1. Archambault, Louis; Barnes, Burton V.; Witter, John A. 1989. Ecological species groups of oak ecosystems of southeastern Michigan. Forest Science. 35(4): 1058-1074. [9768] 2. Balogh, James C.; Grigal, David F. 1987. Age-density distributions of tall shrubs in Minnesota. Forest Science. 33(4): 846-857. [2879] 3. Bernard, Stephen R.; Brown, Kenneth F. 1977. Distribution of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians by BLM physiographic regions and A.W. Kuchler's associations for the eleven western states. Tech. Note 301. Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 169 p. [434] 4. Brinkman, Kenneth A. 1974. Cornus L. dogwood. In: Schopmeyer, C. S., technical coordinator. Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Agric. Handb. 450. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 336-342. [7593] 5. Chapman, William K.; Bessette, Alan E. 1990. Trees and shrubs of the Adirondacks. Utica, NY: North Country Books, Inc. 131 p. [12766] 6. Clewell, Andre F. 1985. Guide to the vascular plants of the Florida Panhandle. Tallahassee, FL: Florida State University Press. 605 p. [13124] 7. Crawford, Hewlette S.; Hooper, R. G.; Harlow, R. F. 1976. Woody plants selected by beavers in the Appalachian Ridge and Valley Province. Res. Pap. NE-346. Upper Darby, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 6 p. [20005] 8. Dansereau, Pierre. 1959. The principal plant associations of the Saint Lawrence Valley. No. 75. Montreal, Canada: Contrib. Inst. Bot. Univ. Montreal. 147 p. [8925] 9. DeSelm, H. R.; Boner, R. R. 1984. Understory changes in spruce-fir during the first 16-20 years following the death of fir. In: White, Peter S., ed. Southern Appalachian spruce-fir ecosystem: its biology and threats. Research/Resources Management Report SER-71. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Southeast Region: 51-69. [21927] 10. Duncan, Wilbur H.; Duncan, Marion B. 1988. Trees of the southeastern United States. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press. 322 p. [12764] 11. Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. [905] 12. Garrison, George A.; Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Duncan, Don A.; [and others]. 1977. Vegetation and environmental features of forest and range ecosystems. Agric. Handb. 475. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 68 p. [998] 13. Gleason, Henry A.; Cronquist, Arthur. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. 2nd ed. New York: New York Botanical Garden. 910 p. [20329] 14. Godfrey, Robert K. 1988. Trees, shrubs, and woody vines of northern Florida and adjacent Georgia and Alabama. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press. 734 p. [10239] 15. Gullion, Gordon W.; Marshall, William H. 1968. Survival of ruffed grouse in a boreal forest. Living Bird. 7: 117-167. [15907] 16. Hosie, R. C. 1969. Native trees of Canada. 7th ed. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Forestry Service, Department of Fisheries and Forestry. 380 p. [3375] 17. Hunter, Carl G. 1989. Trees, shrubs, and vines of Arkansas. Little Rock, AR: The Ozark Society Foundation. 207 p. [21266] 18. Kotar, John; Kovach, Joseph A.; Locey, Craig T. 1988. Field guide to forest habitat types of northern Wisconsin. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin, Department of Forestry; Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. 217 p. [11510] 19. Kuchler, A. W. 1964. Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. New York: American Geographical Society. 77 p. [1384] 20. Kudish, Michael. 1992. Adirondack upland flora: an ecological perspective. Saranac, NY: The Chauncy Press. 320 p. [19376] 21. Lesser, Walter A.; Wistendahl, Jean D. 1974. Dogwoods. In: Gill, John D.; Healy, William M., compilers. Shrubs and vines for northeastern wildlife. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-9. Upper Darby, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest and Range Experiment Station: 32-41. [15902] 22. Newton, Michael; Cole, Elizabeth C.; Lautenschlager, R. A.; [and others]. 1989. Browse availability after conifer release in Maine's spruce-fir forests. Journal of Wildlife Management. 53(3): 643-649. [8401] 23. Perala, Donald A. 1974. Prescribed burning in an aspen-mixed hardwood forest. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 4: 222-228. [5816] 24. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. [2843] 25. Rickett, H. W. 1945. Cornaceae. North American Flora. 28B: 299-317. [7612] 26. Sakai, Ann K.; Roberts, Mark R.; Jolls, Claudia L. 1985. Successional changes in a mature aspen forest in northern lower Michigan: 1974-1981. American Midland Naturalist. 113(2): 271-282. [4450] 27. Seymour, Frank Conkling. 1982. The flora of New England. 2d ed. Phytologia Memoirs 5. Plainfield, NJ: Harold N. Moldenke and Alma L. Moldenke. 611 p. [7604] 28. 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] 29. 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] 30. 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] 31. 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] 32. Balogh, James C.; Grigal, David F. 1988. Tall shrub dynamics in northern Minnesota aspen and conifer forests. Res. Pap. NC-283. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Department of Agricultural, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station. 18 p. [6689] 33. Hix, David M.; Lorimer, Craig G. 1991. Early stand development on former oak sites in southwestern Wisconsin. Forest Ecology and Management. 42: 169-193. [16124] 34. Lutz, H. J. 1930. The vegetation of Heart's Content, a virgin forest in northwestern Pennsylvania. Ecology. 11(1): 2-29. [14480] 35. Mladenoff, David J. 1990. The relationship of the soil seed bank and understory vegetation in old-growth northern hardwood-hemlock treefall gaps. Canadian Journal of Botany. 68: 2714-2721. [13477] 36. Saunders, Paul R.; Smathers, Garrett A.; Ramseur, George S. 1983. Secondary succession of a spruce-fir burn in the Plott Balsam Mountains, North Carolina. Castanea. 48(1): 41-47. [8658] 37. Thompson, Robert S.; Anderson, Katherine H.; Bartlein, Patrick J. 1999. Digital representations of tree species range maps from "Atlas of United States trees" by Elbert L. Little, Jr. (and other publications). In: Atlas of relations between climatic parameters and distributions of important trees and shrubs in North America. Denver, CO: U.S. Geological Survey, Information Services (Producer). On file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT; FEIS files. [92575]

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