CAUTION: ""We are not recommending the use of these plants for medicinal or food purposes. Many plants are poisonous or harmful if eaten or used externally. The information on food or medicinal value is added for interest only. This information has been gathered from books and its accuracy has not been tested"". (Canadian Wildlife Federation)
It is named for its alternate arrangement of leaves which differ from other dogwood which have opposite leaves.
The roots, mixed with vinegar, yield a light to dark brown dye. (Kershaw)
The dry, bitter fruits are not edible by human standards, but they provide food for grouse, pheasants, wild turkeys and squirrels. (Kershaw)
May be confused with C. rugosa which displays opposite paired leaf arrangement (Soper)
64 wildlife species may use it for food; 43 kinds of birds eat berries. (Lady Bird Johnson, 2005)
The wood is of no commercial use, but the tree is occasionally used as an ornamental, where its layered form can be displayed to the best advantage.
During the construction of grist and seed mills by pioneering families, this tree was one of the species required for a home-built mill. The wood's ability to cope with friction made it a premium material for long life bearings and shaker slides. (Hosie, R.C. - Nat. Trees of CA)
Seeds need a cold period before germination can occur. Cuttings can also be taken in the fall for reproduction.
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