About This Plant

Cornus controversa, commonly known as the wedding cake tree or giant dogwood, is an ornamental deciduous tree that is native to East Asia, particularly China, Korea, and Japan. This striking tree is renowned for its distinctive horizontal branches and tiered, horizontal layers of foliage that resemble the layers of a wedding cake, hence its common name. Cornus controversa typically reaches heights of 25 to 40 feet (7.6 to 12 meters).

The Story

Leaf

These leaves are broad, opposite, and arranged in a tiered, whorled pattern along the branches. Each leaf is elliptical to ovate in shape, with finely serrated edges. The size of the leaves contributes to the tree’s impressive and bold appearance. In spring, the leaves emerge with a fresh green hue and as the seasons progresses, the Giant Dogwood’s leaves transition to rich red and purple.

Produce

In the spring, the tree produces small, creamy white flowers in flattened clusters that give way to dark blue-black berries in the summer, which are attractive to birds.
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