Cornus sericea, or Red Twig Dogwood ( also called Red Osier) is a native shrub that really stands out in the winter landscape. Driving around the countryside, you can spot the bright red stems quite easily at just about any speed…. not that we suggest that you drive around speeding to test this theory. Large stands of this suckering shrub are very common roadside, especially where drainage ditches have been made and water is available for this moisture loving plant. In the wild this dogwood can reach 6 feet or more. Coppicing and thinning in the garden will keep them shorter and the color richer. Flat-topped white fragrant flowers appear in May and June followed by white berries later in the season. The flowers attract many pollinators including butterflies. The berries are food for birds and other wildlife. Spreading by underground stolons, Red Twig Dogwood is very effective when used for erosion control. In the landscape, its main attraction is for its colorful branches in winter, and they are often collected for decoration in seasonal arrangements. Some cultivars such as ‘Cato’ have yellow stems while ‘Flaviramea’ has lime-green stems. Another, ‘Ivory Halo’ has variegated leaves giving it a longer season of interest. There are many cultivars on the market now having various shades of red, yellow, and green stems and also differing in height and spread. Almost all have better color when grown in full to mostly sunny sites. Cornus sericea is an easily grown native with many uses and types to choose from. We’ll be featuring several varieties, including the native of course, here at the nursery in the spring. Consider adding this great, Christmas red, native to your landscape!