Pacific dogwood
Cornus nuttallii
Ex. T. & G.


Pacific dogwood is a deciduous, broadleaved tree growing up to 25 m tall. It occurs most frequently on soils of medium nutrient and moisture levels. It grows scattered in early and intermediate successional stages in mixtures with softwoods or hardwoods. It has a high aesthetic value and is planted in coastal gardens as an ornamental species (Klinka et al. 2000). Pacific dogwood is at risk due to an introduced fungus (Discula spp.) causing anthracnose (Caetano-Anolles et al. 1997; Caetano-Anolles et al. 2001) and micropropagation has been tested as a possible tool to aid in conservation efforts (Edson et al. 1997). The first peoples used the hard, tough wood for bows and implements (Turner 1979).

The natural range of Pacific dogwood lies in the central and south of the Pacific region. It stretches from the southern half of British Columbia down to Southern California. In British Columbia, the range covers southwestern British Columbia and Vancouver Island. Most of the species’ range is therefore located outside of British Columbia (Little 1976).

Distribution and Protected Areas – from Hamann 2005

Conservation Status Summary – from Chourmouzis 2009

“At the northern edge of its range, Pacific dogwood is found mainly in the CDF and CWH zones. It also occurs infrequently in transitional subzones of the IDF zone in southern coastal British Columbia. It is recommended for ground truthing in protected areas in the CDF zone, where protection is expected only at lower threshold values. However, it is recommended that a comprehensive re-evaluation of the protection status of this species in the CDF zone be conducted prior to field verification in this zone. While under-protected in the IDF zone, Pacific dogwood is not recommended for ground truthing because the protected area coverage level in suitable IDF subzones is already very high”


The species reproduces abundantly and has a high dissemination capacity, with seeds distributed mainly by birds and animals (Klinka et al. 2000). However, the species is relatively limited in British Columbia as the northern edge of its distribution is in the southeast corner of B.C.

Genetic structure

Coming soon.

Resource management and seed transfer

Coming soon.



Hamann, A., Smets, P., Aitken, S. N. and Yanchuk, A. D. 2005. An ecogeographic framework for in situ conservation of forest trees in British Columbia. Can. J. For. Res. 35:2553-2561. View online resources for this report.

C. Chourmouzis, A.D. Yanchuk, A. Hamann, P. Smets, and S.N. Aitken. 2009. Forest Tree Genetic Conservation Status Report 1: In situ conservation status of all indigenous BC species. Centre for Forest Conservation Genetics, Forest Genetics Council of BC, and BC Ministry of Forests and Range, Forest Science Program, Victoria, BC Technical Report 053.

Caetano-Anolles, G., Trigiano, R. N. and Windham, M. T. 1997. Sequence signatures from DNA amplification fingerprints reveal fine population structure of the dogwood pathogen Discula destructiva. FEMS Microbiology Letters 145:377-383.

Caetano-Anolles, G., Trigiano, R. N. and Windham, M. T. 2001. Patterns of evolution in Discula fungi and the origin of dogwood anthracnose in North America, studied using arbitrarily amplified and ribosomal DNA. Current Genetics 39:346-354.

Edson, J. L., Wenny, D. L., Leege-Brusven, A. D. and Everett, R. L. 1997. Using micropropagation to conserve threatened rare species in sustainable forests. p. 279-291 in: Bouman O. T. and Brand D. G. (Eds.), Sustainable forests: global challenges and local solutions, vol. 5.

Klinka, K., Worrall, J., Skoda, L. and Varga, P. 2000. The distribution and synopsis of ecological and silvical characteristics of tree species of British Columbia’s forests. Canadian Cartographics Ltd., Vancouver. 180 p.

Little, E. L., Jr. 1976. Atlas of United States trees, volume 3, minor western hardwoods. U.S. Department of Agriculture Miscellaneous Publication 1314. 13 p., 290 maps.

Turner, N. J. 1979. Plants in British Columbia Indian technology. B.C. Provincial Museum Handbook no. 38. BC Provincial Museum, Victoria, B.C. 304 p.