Cornus controversa (Giant Dogwood) is a deciduous tree native to East Asia. It is renowned for its distinctive tiered branching structure, showy flowers, and ornamental value. It is a medium to large-sized tree that can reach heights of 10 to 15 meters (33 to 49 feet) or more. It has a broad, spreading crown with distinct horizontal branches arranged in tiers, giving it a layered or "wedding cake" appearance. The leaves are oval or lance-shaped, dark green, and turn shades of red and purple in the fall.
Flowers: Giant Dogwood produces clusters of small, creamy white flowers that are arranged in flattened clusters called cymes. The flowers appear in late spring or early summer and create a stunning display against the tree's foliage. The blossoms have a pleasant fragrance and attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies.
Fruit: After flowering, Giant Dogwood develops small, dark blue to black berries. The fruits are oval-shaped and borne in hanging clusters. While they are technically edible, they are not commonly consumed by humans and are primarily enjoyed by birds and wildlife.
Fall Foliage: The leaves of Giant Dogwood undergo a striking color transformation in the fall. They turn shades of red, purple, and bronze, adding to the tree's ornamental appeal.
Habitat and Growing Conditions: Giant Dogwood thrives in well-drained soil and prefers moist, fertile conditions. It tolerates a range of soil types but performs best in loamy, slightly acidic soil. It prefers full sun to partial shade and can tolerate some shade, especially in hotter climates. It is hardy in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 8.
Pruning: Minimal pruning is generally required for Giant Dogwood. However, occasional pruning can be done to remove any dead or damaged branches, maintain the tree's shape, and improve its overall structure. Pruning is best done during the dormant season, in late winter or early spring.
Giant Dogwood, Cornus controversa, is a captivating tree that stands out in the landscape due to its tiered branching pattern and showy flowers. Its ornamental features, including the fall foliage and hanging fruit clusters, make it an attractive choice for gardens and larger landscapes.