This useful woodland ground cover plant loves the shady spots in Lock’s Trail where the oval mid-green leaves mingle with the white-spotted leaves of Pulmonaria officinalis.
- Common name
- Dwarf cornel
- Height & spread
- Up to 15cm (6in) high, indefinite spread
- Herbaceous perennial
- Fertile, humus-rich, acid soil
- Full sun or partial shade
- Hardy throughout the British Isles
The dogwoods, Cornus, comprise a genus of around 65 species of mostly deciduous shrubs and small trees, plus some creeping, woody-based perennials, from northern temperate grasslands, woodlands and swamps.
Cornus are extensively grown for a wide range of ornamental effects. Dogwoods such as Cornus alba and C. stolonifera are prized for their brilliant autumn foliage, handsome fruits and outstanding winter beauty provided by colourful stems which range in colour from yellow and crimson to almost black-purple.
The flowering dogwoods such as C. florida, C. kousa and C. nuttallii are also grown for their stunning autumn colour but the group is most celebrated for its large white or pink bracts, produced in early summer.
Cornus mas is grown for its colourful yellow flowers produced in spring, followed by bright red, fleshy, edible fruit in late summer. It also produces a wonderful autumn display with the dark green leaves turning reddish purple.
C. canadensis is a herbaceous perennial forming a wide mat of oval leaves borne in whorls on stems 10-15cm in height. Four to six oval, white, or pink-flushed bracts 1-2cm long surround greenish flowers in late spring and early summer, followed by red berries.
It is best planted in woodland, or used as groundcover in a shrub border, where the soil is moist and acidic.
- Grow in moist, acidic soil in full or partial shade.
- Propagate C. canadensis by division in spring or autumn.
The RHS Woody Plant Committee awarded Cornus canadensis an Award of Garden Merit with the description:
'Rhizomatous herbaceous perennial forming a wide mat of oval leaves borne in whorls on erect stems 10-15cm tall. Conspicuous oval, white bracts surround greenish flowers; red berries.'