Rough-Leaved Dogwood

Family: 
Cornaceae (dogwoods)
Description: 

An irregularly branched thicket-forming shrub or small spreading tree.

Leaves opposite, simple, 1–5 inches long, ½–2½ inches wide, conspicuously veined, lacking teeth, egg- to lance-shaped; upper surface olive green and rather rough-hairy above; lower surface paler with woolly, dense hairs; leaf stalk slender, rough-hairy, green to reddish. Leaves smell faintly like sour milk.

Bark gray-brown with shallow grooves and short, thin plates.

Twigs green and hairy when young, reddish-brown and smooth with age.

Flowers May–June, yellowish-white, borne in spreading, long-stalked clusters 1–3 inches across; flower stalks 1–2 inches long, hairy; petals 4, spreading, pointed at the tip.

Fruits August–October, globe-shaped, fleshy, 1–2 seeded, white, about ¼ inch wide, the style (small stalk) on tip of fruit persistent.

Size: 
Height: to 20 feet.
Habitat and conservation: 
Occurs in dry or rocky woods, thickets, old fields, limestone and dolomite glades, prairies, bluff escarpments, occasionally low wet ground, along ponds, streams and at the base of bluffs. This dogwood is one of the hardiest of Missouri shrubs and will withstand drought or extreme cold. It spreads by underground stems, sending up sprouts at the margin of the thicket. It is difficult to manage in prairies, especially hill prairies in northwestern Missouri.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Statewide. Probably occurs in every county.
Status: 
Note: Sometimes called "roughleaf dogwood" as well as "rough-leaved dogwood."
Human connections: 
This dogwood is a particularly hardy landscaping shrub, and the wood is used for small woodenware articles, especially shuttleblocks and charcoal. Native Americans and pioneers made use of the antibiotic properties and fashioned chew-sticks from the stems to prevent tooth decay.
Ecosystem connections: 
Although seldom planted as a windbreak around farmsteads, the thickets of this dogwood provide excellent cover and nesting habitat for birds and animals. The fruit is eaten by dozens of bird species.