Cornus sericea, syn. C. stolonifera, Swida sericea, red osier or red-osier dogwood, is a species of flowering plant in the family Cornaceae, native throughout northern and western North America from Alaska east to Newfoundland, south to Durango and Nuevo León in the west, and Illinois and Virginia in the east. It has sometimes been considered a synonym of the Asian species Cornus alba. Other names include red brush, red willow, redstem dogwood, redtwig dogwood, red-rood, American dogwood, creek dogwood, and western dogwood.

In the wild, it commonly grows in areas of damp soil, such as wetlands. It is a medium to tall deciduous shrub, growing 1.5–4 m tall and 3–5 m wide, spreading readily by underground stolons to form dense thickets. The branches and twigs are dark red, although wild plants may lack this coloration in shaded areas. The leaves are opposite, 5–12 cm long and 2.5–6 cm broad, with an ovate to oblong shape and an entire margin; they are dark green above and glaucous below; fall color is commonly bright red to purple. The flowers are small (5–10 mm diameter), dull white, in clusters 3–6 cm diameter.

The fruit is a globose white berry 5–9 mm diameter. The Latin specific epithet sericea means "silky", referring to the texture of the leaves.

Some Plateau Indigenous tribes ate the berries to treat colds and to slow bleeding.

Known as cansasa in Lakota, the inner bark was also used by the Lakota and other Native Americans as "traditional tobacco", either by itself or in a mixture with other plant materials. Among the Algonquian peoples such as the Ojibwe, the smoking mixtures, known as kinnikinnick, blended the inner bark with tobacco, while more western tribes added it to the bearberry leaf to improve the taste.

The Ojibwe used red-osier dogwood bark as a dye by taking the inner bark and mixing it with other plants or minerals.

Observations Map

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