Black twig dogwood

Cornus alba ‘Kesselringii’
CORNACEAE, The Dogwood family
Also called Tartarian dogwood

It’s been a while since I’ve seen something so new and wonderful at the garden center. My first thought when I saw the nearly black stems was ‘Arrangements!’. My next thought, ‘Must have it!’ was followed by the increasingly frequent ‘And where will I put it?’

The gorgeous, straight, nearly glossy stems will be dramatic in arrangements. In the landscape, it’s a good wildlife plant with white flowers and white berries, and is supposed to have beautiful purple-burgundy fall color too. I found a place for it near the English walnut where a tough but showy focal point was needed. There will be a variety of unusual bulbs around it, a dark-leaved cape fuchsia and purple acaena as a ground cover.

The species name ‘alba’ refers to the white fruit.

Functions: Bird, bee, butterfly food – nectar and berries. Cut twigs for arrangements. Basketry.
Landscape uses: Great in rain gardens, mixed hedge borders, mass plantings.

Size: 6′ x 6′ or a bit bigger

Needs:Grow like red twigged dogwood, in average to seasonally moist soil. To keep good color on the stems and maintain a neat form, prune to a natural shape by removing 1/4 of the stems at the ground each year in early spring.

Zones: 3 to 9

About Mulysa

I love my work as a landscape designer and artist. When I'm not planning homesteads or working in the studio, you'll find me hiking, photographing, gardening, baking, cooking vegetarian meals with friends, reading and working on sustainability issues...with my baby on my hip in Portland, Oregon.
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2 Responses to Black twig dogwood

  1. Jane says:

    Thank you so much for the article. I, too, was taken by this plant when it showed up at my garden center, and have been looking for a source of information before planting.

  2. Mulysa says:

    Thanks! It’s surprising that it isn’t more common, considering how cool it looks and how popular red and yellow twigged dogwoods are. I’ll follow up about how it does and how it looks in other seasons. Let me know how yours does too!

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