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Cornus (sericea)

Tara Luna
USDI NPS - Glacier National Park
West Glacier, Montana 59936
(406) 888-7835

Family Scientific Name: Cornaceae
Family Common Name: Dogwood family
Scientific Name: Cornus sericea L. sericea L.
Common Synonym: Cornus stolonifera Michx.
Common Name: Red stem dogwood
Species Code: CORSER
Ecotype: Riparian zone, Camas road, Glacier National Park, Flathead County, MT., 1000m elevation.
General Distribution: C. sericea ssp. sericea occurs from Alaska to Newfoundland, south through the Rocky Mountains to Mexico; also south through the Cascades and Sierras to southern California and Nevada; further east in Missouri and Pennsylvania. It is found in mixed, open coniferous and aspen forests, riparian zones, wetlands, flood plains, and is invasive of wet meadows.ΓΏ
Propagation Goal: plants
Propagation Method: seed
ProductType: Container (plug)
Stock Type: 3 L ( gal) containers
Time To Grow: 2 Years
Target Specifications: Stock Type: Container seedling<br> Height: 30 cm<br> Caliper: 5 mm<br> Root System: firm plug in 3L (1 gallon) containers.
Propagule Collection: Mature fruits are collected from July to October. Red-oiser dogwood can produce 2 crops of fruit per growing season. The first crop of the season is usually the largest and has the most fruit. Seeds are hand collected in late August and early September when fruit turns blue. Seeds are brown at maturity. Fruits are collected in plastic bags and kept under refrigeration prior to cleaning.
Propagule Processing: Seeds are cleaned by maceration using a Dyb-Vig seed cleaner and screens.
Seed longevity: up to 20 years at 1 to 3C in sealed containers.
Seed dormancy is classified as physical-physiological dormancy. Seed has a hard endocarp.
Seeds/Kg: 40,700/ kg
% Purity: 100%
% Germination: 80%
Pre-Planting Treatments: Seeds are scarified with sulfuric acid for 20 to 30 minutes followed by a neutralization of lime, and a running water rinse for 48 hours to remove acid residue. After rinsing, seeds are placed into a 90 day cold, moist stratification.
Seeds are placed in fine mesh bags and buried in moist peat moss in ventilated containers at 1 to 3C.
Some seedlots may not require acid scarification for acceptable germination rates.
Growing Area Preparation/
Annual Practices for Perennial Crops:
Outdoor nursery growing facility.

Sowing Method: Direct Seeding. Seeds are lightly covered with medium.
Growing medium used is 6:1:1 milled sphagnum peat, perlite, and vermiculite with Osmocote controlled release fertilizer (13N:13P2O5:13K2O; 8 to 9 month release rate at 21C) and Micromax fertilizer (12%S, 0.1%B, 0.5%Cu, 12%Fe, 2.5%Mn, 0.05%Mo, 1%Zn) at the rate of 1 gram of Osmocote and 0.20 gram of Micromax per 172 ml conetainer.
Establishment Phase: Germination is uniform and usually complete in 2 weeks. True leaves appear 2 weeks after germination.
Length of Establishment Phase: 4 weeks
Active Growth Phase: Seedling growth is rapid following germination. Plants are fertilized with 20-20-20 liquid NPK at 100 ppm weekly. Plants increased in height to 17 centimeters in 10 weeks.
Length of Active Growth Phase: 16 weeks
Hardening Phase: Plants are fertilized with 10-20-20 liquid NPK at 200 ppm during August and September. Irrigation was gradually reduced in October. Plants were given one final irrigation prior to winterization.
Length of Hardening Phase: 4 weeks
Harvesting, Storage and Shipping: Total Time to Harvest: 9 months for 172 ml conetainers and 1.5 years for 3L (1 gallon containers.
Harvest Date: September
Storage Conditions: Overwinter in outdoor nursery under insulating foam and snow.
Length of Storage: 5 months
Other Comments: This species is tolerant of excessively cold temperatures. Water freezes extra cellularly in the tissue. Hardened nursery stock can be winter stored with minimal protection.
C. sericea is a early to mid seral species which needs moderate to full sun and is not found under closed forest canopies. It is widely used for restoration in a variety of habitats.
Fruits are an important food source for birds and small rodents and white tail and mule deer, elk, moose, and snowshow hare browse twigs and leaves. It is a favored winter browse for many species.
References: Flora of the Pacific Northwest, Hitchcock and Cronquist, University of Washington Press, 7th printing, 1990.
Seeds of the Woody Plants in North America, Young and Young, Dioscorides Press, 1992.
Seeds of the Woody Plants in the United States, Agriculture Handbook No. 450, U.S.F.S., Washington D.C., 1974.
Glacier National Park Native Plant Nursery Propagation Records, unpublished.


Luna, Tara; Evans, Jeff; Wick, Dale. 2008. Propagation protocol for production of Container (plug) Cornus sericea L. plants 3 L ( gal) containers; USDI NPS - Glacier National Park West Glacier, Montana. In: Native Plant Network. URL: http://NativePlantNetwork.org (accessed 2020/10/23). US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, National Center for Reforestation, Nurseries, and Genetic Resources.

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