‘Eddies White Wonder’ Dogwood

Cornus ‘Eddies White Wonder’

Cornus ‘Eddies White Wonder’ is a hybrid cross between the PNW native Cornus nuttallii and the eastern U.S. dogwood C. florida. It has been cultivated since the 1950s.

At a Glance:

  • Family: Cornaceae
  • Plant Type: deciduous small tree
  • Habitat: Full sun to light shade, well-drained soil
  • Height: 20 ft
  • Flower: White floral bracts, x4-5
  • Flowering Season: April – June
  • Generation: Perennial
  • Notable feature: attractive red leaves during fall. Attractive white floral bracts during spring.

About the PNW native: Cornus nuttallii – Pacific Dogwood

Pacific dogwood is a beautiful flowering tree native to the Pacific Northwest. They grow 2-20m tall at forest edges from California to British Columbia. They flower in early spring and are noticeable by their large showy “flowers” which are off-white modified leaves, called bracts. They produce a cluster of red/orange fruits, like berries, called drupes.

C. nuttalli is sensitive to anthracnose a fungal leaf disease that can be challenging to grow to use in native gardens and restoration applications. Hybridizing with C. florida has provided a more reiliant and easier to grow tree in the PNW.

Conservation/ Restoration

At times, deer and elk will eat the leaves of Pacific dogwood as forage. The drupes and seeds are eaten by small mammals and birds, especially band-tailed pigeons and pileated woodpeckers. The plant can grow as either a shrub or tree form, and depending on the form, can provide different habitats for animals such as nesting and shade. Flowers provide nectar for pollinators.

Ethnobotany and Commerce

Native American tribes have used many parts of the Pacific dogwood for various reasons. Nlaka`pamux used the bark to make a brown dye. Other Pacific Coastal tribes used the bark as a blood purifier, lung enhancement (for big hikes) and to treat stomach ailments. Skagit tribes used the wood to make bows, arrows, games, and fishing harpoons.

All three dogwoods (C. nuttallii, C. florida, and C. ‘Eddies White Wonder’) make attractive trees and have important commercial value as a landscaping focal point.

Extra thoughts

  • Why might cultivars be good?
  • What might be missing in the environment when a cultivar is planted in place of a native?
  • The flowers of ‘Eddies White Wonder’ are sterile, meaning no fruit will ever be produced. How might this affect animals dependent on fruits or seeds? As a homeowner, this might be nice because there are no fruits to clean up below the tree.
  • Do sterile flowers still make nectar? If you see bees or other pollinators on these flowers, please send a picture to Sarah Verlinde (email below).

References and Resources

This article was written by Sarah Verlinde. For questions regarding the UWB/CC Plant Tour, contact Sarah at severlin@uw.edu.