Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Natural Plant Valentines, Day 2
Cornus sericea or red osier dogwood has bright red twigs that really stand out in the winter. This shrub grows at the environmental education area at work. Silky dogwood, Cornus amomum can also have red twigs. Unlike flowering dogwood, these two native cornus species are shrubs rather than trees. The two can be distinguished in winter by taking a knife and cutting into the center of a young branch called the pith. Last night I thought I may have jumped the gun by calling this red osier dogwood. But thanks to my co-worker's trusty pocket knife, today we were able to peel back the bark and cut down into the pith. Sure enough, it was white in color, meaning that we did in fact have red osier dogwood! Silky dogwood has a tawny colored pith. Again, I am speculating this was planted, but look for red-osier dogwood in high quality wetlands in northern Ohio, especially north of I-71. Happy winter botanizing!
Tomorrow's valentine: Swamp rose, Rosa palustris.