Scientific name: Cornus racemosa
Gray dogwood is a thickly branched, slow growing shrub seldom more than 6 feet high at maturity, although it can grow to heights of 10-15 feet. The bark color can range from gray, particularly on the main stems and older branches to a reddish brown. Gray dogwood is useful as a low-growing wild hedge which provides summer food and some cover for small animals and birds.
Gray dogwood is a thickly branched, slow growing shrub seldom more than 6 feet high at maturity, although it can grow to heights of 10-15 feet. The bark color can range from gray, particularly on the main stems and older branches to a reddish brown.
Gray dogwood is useful as a low-growing wild hedge which provides summer food and some cover for small animals and birds.
Gray dogwood is a very adaptable, native shrub that is excellent for naturalizing, especially in difficult sites, such as pond and stream banks. A dense, multi-stemmed, erect growing shrub with short, spreading branches, its suckers from the roots form a large colony extending in all directions.
Gray Dogwood is an upland forest species, however it does not tolerate too much shade, preferring areas with thin canopies or openings and does very well along roads that have cut through the forest.
Its elliptical leaves are opposite, taper-pointed and oval. They range in size from 2-1/2 to 5 inches long.
Its white berries, which appear in September and October, are set off by bright red fruit-stalks. They are quickly eaten by birds.
The flowers of the gray dogwood grow in domed racemes that average about 2 inches across. They bloom in June or July and are white and loosely clustered.
Over 98 species of birds, including flicker, tanager, woodpeckers, and catbird are attracted to this plant for its fruit and use as a shelter and a nesting site.
The gray dogwood is a forage plant for white-tailed deer. The berries appear before most other dogwoods, making it popular with the squirrels and over 100 bird species that eat the fruit. It forms a dense thicket, providing cover and nesting sites for wildlife.
More on Trees and Shrubs in Lewisboro
Lewisboro was once entirely forested except for patches of open field caused by fire and wetlands and ponds which were expanded by beaver dams. Although it is hard to believe, by 1800 most of Lewisboro’s forests had been cut down and replaced by farms. In 1820 so many trees had been cleared that there was no shade anywhere along the route from Boston to New York. But by the mid-1800’s farming here became uneconomical and as farms were abandoned, the forests began to re-grow. Today, 70% of New York is once again forest, what some call ‘the great environmental story of the United States’. These new forests provide us with beauty and recreation, clean air and water, flood control, erosion prevention, carbon sequestration, cooler temperatures and habitat for other plants, insects, birds and other wildlife.
 An Explosion of Green. B. Mckibben. Atlantic Monthly 275 (April 1995): 61-83.