Blood-twig dogwood takes its common name from the deep red color of its newer stems in fall; mature stems, however, are gray green. It forms a dense, twiggy shrub and tends to sucker and colonize. Small white flowers in spring are followed by black fruit.
Members of the genus Cornus, commonly known as dogwoods, are welcome in the home garden for their multi-season interest--be it flowers, fruit, foliage, and/or bark--and their range of forms from small trees to suckering shrubs. The dominant display, however, varies among the species.
Dogwoods are native to cooler temperate areas of North America and Asia. The genus includes 45 to 60 species, divided into subgenera about which taxonomists disagree. The Chicago Botanic Garden's collection includes almost 100 varieties of dogwood from 20 species (7 of which are native) and over 2,400 plants.