Gardening Magazine

Plant of the Week: Cornus Sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch


Cornus sanguinea 'Midwinter Fire' stem (21/01/2012, Kew, London)

Cornus sanguinea 'Midwinter Fire' stem (21/01/2012, Kew, London)

Position: Full sun

Flowering period: Summer

Soil: Moist soil

Eventual Height: 3m (1m when stooled)

Eventual Spread: 3m (0.8m when stooled)

Hardiness: 4a – 8b

Family: Cornaceae

Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’ is a robust, deciduous shrub. The leaves of the plant are opposite, up to 8cm long and 4cm broad, with an ovate to oblong shape and an entire margin. They are green above and slightly paler below and turn orange/ yellow in autumn. The branches are upright. The juvenile branches of this plant are orange becoming red towards the tips. The flowers of the plant are borne in dense flat cymes, they are small, up to 1cm in diameter, with creamy white petals. The fruit of the plant is a black globose berry, up to 8mm in diameter containing a single seed. This plant may spread by stolons.

Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’, commonly known as Common Dogwood Midwinter Fire. The species, Cornus sanguinea, is native to most of Europe and western Asia, including some parts of the UK. C. sanguinea ’Midwinter Fire’ was discovered in a German garden by H. Venhorst in about 1980, it was named ‘Midwinter Fire’ in 1990.

The etymological root of the binomial Cornus is from the Latin cornum meaning ‘horn’ due to its dense properties. Sanguinea is from the Latin meaning ‘blood red’, referring to the color of the plant.

Cornus sanguinea 'Midwinter Fire' (21/01/2012, Kew, London)

Cornus sanguinea 'Midwinter Fire' (21/01/2012, Kew, London)

The landscape architect may find Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’ useful when planting en mass, providing autumn leaf color and a fantastic display of stem color during the winter months.

Ecologically, C. sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’s’ berries are eaten by some mammals and many birds. The leaves provide food for some moths and caterpillars.

C. sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’ prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil.

C. sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’, if planted for its winter stem colour, will need to be stooled in early spring, before the spring growth starts.


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