Plant Data Sheet



Species (common name, Latin name)

Pacific dogwood (Cornus nuttallii)



Pacific coast inland approximately 200 miles, from Southern California to British Columbia. (USDA Forest Service)


Climate, elevation

Maritime to submaritime cool mesothermal climates. Minimum temperature is 7 degrees Celsius. Grows from near sea to 6,000 feet with elevation limits of 3,500 feet in Washington and British Columbia, and 6,000 feet in California. (USDA)


Local occurrence (where, how common)

Forest edges, forest understory, riparian ecosystems, and disturbed areas. (USDA)


Habitat preferences

Deep, moist, well-drained, acidic soils that are relatively stone-free, high in nitrogen, with a rich humus cover. (USDA)


Plant strategy type/successional stage (stress-tolerator, competitor, weedy/colonizer, seral, late successional)

This tree is considered by some to be a climax species on mesic sites, while others view it as a seral species in mesothermal forests. It is shade tolerant until a full canopy is developed. (USDA)


Associated species

Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa), Western white pine (Pinus monticola), grand fir (Abies grandis), Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis), Western red cedar (Thuja plicata), Western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla), Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), red alder (Alnus rubra), Giant Sequioa (Sequioadendron giganteum), Pacific yew (Taxus brevifolia), ocenspray (Holodiscus discolor), snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus). (USDA)


May be collected as: (seed, layered, divisions, etc.)

Seed, cuttings, bare root. (USDA)


Collection restrictions or guidelines

Flowers bloom from April to May with seeds dispersed between September and October. Cornus nuttallii may bloom in September, but these flowers do not reach maturity. (USDA)


Seed germination (needs dormancy breaking?)

Fresh seeds germinate easily when collected and sown immediately, about of an inch deep. If the seeds have been dried, it is recommended that they be scarified in concentrated sulfuric acid for four hours, rinsed and then stratified a 3 degrees Celsius for 3 months. (USDA)


Seed life (can be stored, short shelf-life, long shelf-life)

Long. Seeds have been successfully stored for 7 years at 4% moisture content at -7 degrees Celsius, with only a 1% loss in viability. (Brinkman & Vankus)


Recommended seed storage conditions

Seeds should be cleaned, air dried, and stored in sealed containers at 3-5 degrees Celsius.

(Brinkman & Vankus)


Propagation recommendations (plant seeds, vegetative parts, cuttings, etc.)

Plant seeds in fall, when the fruit is plump and red, and the seeds are easily extracted from the pulp. (USDA)


Soil or medium requirements (inoculum necessary?)

Prefers moist, acidic Inceptisols, Histosols, and Alfisols with a high nitrogen content and a rich humus layer. (USDA)


Installation form (form, potential for successful outcomes, cost)

Seeds, container plants, cuttings, bare root. (USDA)


Recommended planting density

Minimum density: 50 per acre. Maximum density: 100 per acre. (USDA)


Care requirements after installed (water weekly, water once etc.)

Water often! C. nuttallii has very low drought tolerance. (USDA)


Normal rate of growth or spread; lifespan

Long life span. (USDA) I can not locate the exact number of years.


Sources cited

Brinkman, Kenneth A. and Victor Vankus. Cornus L. Dogwood. Site last accessed 4/18/03.


USDA Plants Database.

Site last accessed 4/18/03.


Data compiled by (student name and date)

Sara Wrenn April 17, 2003