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Cornus Canadensis - Hardy Perennial

Author: John Wood

Cornus Canadensis - Hardy Perennials and Old Fashioned Flowers

Cornus Canadensis Described.

Cornus Canadensis - Canadian Cornell, or Dogwood; Nat. Ord. Cornaceæ.

This pretty herbaceous plant is sometimes said to be a British species; its specific name, however, somewhat forbids that opinion. C. suecica, which is British, is very similar in all its parts, and the two may have been confounded. They flower, however, at very different dates, C. Canadensis beginning in June and continuing until well into autumn; during the month of August the flowers are in their finest form and greatest numbers. It grows 6in. to 8in. high, and notwithstanding its dwarfness, it proves a most attractive object, being not only conspicuous for so small a plant, but chastely beautiful.

The flowers are exceedingly small, strictly speaking, and are arranged in a minute umbel in the midst of a bract of four white pink-tinted leaves; these latter are commonly taken for the petals, and, as may be seen in the illustration (Fig 28), the real flowers will only appear as so many stamens; but at their earlier stage these are of a yellowish colour; later the purplish style becomes prominent and imparts that colour to the umbel, and, in due time, small fruit are formed. All the while the bract of pleasing white leaves remain in unimpaired condition; they are arranged in two pairs, one of larger size than the other, somewhat heart-shaped and bluntly-pointed, richly tinted at their edges and tips with a bright pink colour, and forming a flower-like bract 1½in. across the broadest part. The bract and pedicels of the umbel all spring from the extremity of a peduncle 1½in. long, square, but of wiry character; this grows from the midst of a whorl of six leaves, and sometimes only four. They are in pairs, one pair being larger than their fellows, and are from 1½in. to 2in. long, elliptical-oblong, entire, smooth, waved, distinctly veined, tinted with pink at the tips and edges, and of a pale apple-green colour. On the stem, below the whorl of leaves, there is one pair more, varying only in size, being rather less. The habit of the species is neatness itself. From the slightly creeping roots, the perennial stems are produced separately, forming compact colonies of bright foliage, topped with its lively bracts.

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Cornus Canadensis

It is a suitable plant for the moist parts of rockwork, where it may be grown with such things as Cardamine trifolia, Galax aphylla, Pyrola rotundifolia, and Salix reticulata, and it would form a rich edging to choice dwarf plants, more especially if the position were gutter-formed, as it loves moisture in abundance. In such positions as those just mentioned, together with a light vegetable soil, this plant will grow to perfection, and that it is worth a proper place is evidenced by its long-continued blooming. Many flowers come and go during its period of attractiveness, and, after the summer flush, it is one to remain, braving alike the hot sunshine and heavy rain. Its propagation is by division of the roots in autumn or very early spring.

Flowering period, June to October.

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