The Flowers of Tatarian Dogwood
The Flowers of Tatarian Dogwood

Tatarian Dogwood (Cornus alba)

Tatarian Dogwood comes directly from the cold. North Korea, Manchuria and Siberia are its birthplace, so its undeniable endurance at the extremely low temperatures is not a special achievement on its part.

Of course, Tatarian Dogwood knows this, and when exposed in winter to the gluttonous human eyes, blushes all over shyness.

Like the editorial team of ‘Kalliergeia’, when delivering modestly and humblely, yet another sympathetic briefness work to the plant-lover but also studious reader.  

Tatarian Dogwood Origin

Tatarian Dogwood (Cornus alba)

Tatarian Dogwood Fruits
Tatarian Dogwood Fruits
Tatarian Dogwood Shrubs
Tatarian Dogwood Shrubs
Tatarian Dogwood - Stems and Leaves of Cornus alba
Stems and Leaves of Cornus alba

Tatarian Dogwood (Cornus alba) - Brief Description

Scientific name

Cornus alba L. (syn. Swida alba)

Common name

Tatarian dogwood, Siberian dogwood, White dogwood, Red-barked dogwood


General characteristics

Type of foliage: Deciduous

Form: Medium size multi-trunk shrub, upright habit, crown shape round with symmetrical canopy

Texture: Medium

Height: 1.5-3 m (5-9 ft)

Diameter: 1.5-3 m (5-9 ft)

Growth rate: Fast

Flowering period: Spring

Fruiting period: Summer


Shape and colours

Bark: Brownish-red

Leaves shape: Elliptical with acute tip

Foliage colour: Dark green

Foliage colour in autumn: Red

Flowers shape: Capitulum

Flowers colour: White, yellowish-white

Fruit: Drupe, sphaerical, white or slightly bluish-white



Soil type: Clay, loam, sand, with organic matter, acidic to slightly alkaline and well-drained

Exposure: Sun, semi-shade

Soil pH: 5.5-7.5

Watering: Medium

Hardiness: -42 °C (-45 °F – USDA Hardiness zone 2b)



Specimen, hedges, mixed hedges, mass planting, container

Tatarian Dogwood (Cornus alba)

Tatarian Dogwood - Flower of Cornus alba
Flower of Cornus alba

Tatarian Dogwood (Cornus alba) - General Notes

  1. In newer taxonomic systems, the plant is classified in the genus Swida, but not yet established.
  2. The old name of the genus Cornus comes from the Latin word cornu, which means ‘horn’ and refers to the strength of the wood and the appearance of the stems in the winter. The species name alba is also Latin and means ‘white’.
  3. The flowers of the plant are single and hermaphrodite, white or yellowish-white, and appear on a corymb type inflorescence. They are formed in the stems of the last year and have decorative value, but in the southern and warmest areas, Tatarian Dogwood produces few of them.
  4. The fruits of the plant are edible and when not consumed by humans they contribute to the bird’s diet.
  5. The parts of the plant are traditionally exploited in a variety of ways, and Ethobotany has recorded many of them as used and uses by peoples within the natural range of the species.
  6. As to the appearance, young plants are more compact than adults, which, if allowed to grow freely, over time grows wide and ‘open’. In order to contain and/or limit this natural tendency, but also to increase the intensity and highlight of the exceptionally decorative winter color of the stems, it is recommended to prune the plants of Cornus alba.

Tatarian Dogwood (Cornus alba)

Tatarian Dogwood, Leaves and Flowers
Tatarian Dogwood, Leaves and Flowers

Cornus alba - Additional Information

  1. Cornus alba grows in a variety of soil types, even in dry calcareous soils, but thrives in those that are fertile and deep and which retain the necessary soil moisture but also have very good drainage.
  2. The southern and warmer the areas are so preferable is to plant them in semi-shady or shady places. However, the plant’s resistance to high temperatures is minimal and it is not recommended to plant it where summer temperatures often exceed 35 °C at long intervals.
  3. Aphids, scales, leaf spot, stem dieback and leaf blights are reported from pests and diseases.
  4. Tatarian Dogwood has several varieties of exceptional decorative value. The most interesting of these are:
  • Cornus alba ‘Argento-marginata’
  • Cornus alba ‘Atrosanguinea’
  • Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’
  • Cornus alba ‘Westonbirt’
  • Cornus alba ‘Aurea’
  • Cornus alba ‘Elegantissima’
  • Cornus alba ‘Gouchaultii’
  • Cornus alba ‘Spaethii’
  1. Only for the Cornus alba: the song by Huun Huur Tu with Carmen Rizzo, ‘In Search of a Lost Past’.


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