Home About BFIS Species List Risk Analysis Harmonia⁺ Resources Outputs Mailing List Registry
Contact us  |  Login  | 
© Etienne Branquart
© Etienne Branquart
© Etienne Branquart
© Etienne Branquart
© Etienne Branquart
© Etienne Branquart
© Etienne Branquart
© Etienne Branquart
Cornus sericea - Red-osier dogwood, red willow

Synonym: Swida sericea, C. alba, C. stolonifera
French name:  Cornouiller soyeux
Dutch name: Canadese kornoeilje
Family: Cornaceae
Group: Vascular plants
Origin: North America
Habitat: terrestrial
Introduction:  agri- and horticulture
ISEIA Score : 11
Naturalization in Belgium
First observation in the wild: 1885
Invasion stage: spread
Spatial distribution: restricted
Reproduction in the wild: yes
Dispersion potential: likely
Natural habitats: high
More on invasiveness: Cornus sericea is mostly found on moist to humid eutrophic soils, where it can live with the roots submerged in water for most of the growing season. It thrives in early successional stages of riparian swamps and woodlands, but also in the understorey of open forests, along forest margins, in meadows and ruderal habitats. The plant is able to tolerate extremely cold temperatures. It is autosterile and pollinated by insects. Seeds, that are primarily dispersed by birds, have a double dormancy that needs both cold stratification and passage through bird gut to germinate. As it is commonly used as an ornamental and planted in gardens and public green areas, human also contribute to the dispersion of this shrub. It is increasingly observed in the wild, most of the time obviously as an escape from cultivation.
Distribution in Belgium
Established populations
absent from district
isolated populations (1-5 localities per district)
widespread (>5 localities per district)
Endangered areas
low risk
medium risk
high risk

Endangered Natura 2000 habitats ():
grasslands: 6430
forest habitats: 91E0*91F0
Impacts on Species
Predation / Herbivory: low
Competition: high
Disease transmission: low
Genetic effects: low
Impacts on Ecosystems
Nutrient cycling: unknown
Physical alteration: high
Natural successions: high
Food web alteration: low
More on impacts: In open conditions, Cornus sericea has a very high growth rate and produces abundant flowering. It can quickly cover high surfaces and make a dense canopy, which reduces the development of native vegetation, strongly decreases plant species richness, reduces tree seedling establishment and inhibits succession development. Density can exceed 100 000 stems per hectare. Under a closed canopy, the plant doesn't produce flower but emits long and horizontal axes that root and give rise to many stocks. This allow it to achieve great lateral exploration and to migrate to a more favourable area or to wait until opening occurs. It is considered as a weed in the floodplains and in forest openings of its area of origin.
Data Source & References
Authors: Branquart Etienne, Vanderhoeven Sonia, Van Landuyt Wouter, Van Rossum Fabienne, Verloove Filip
Published on:  04 December 2007
Last update:  11 January 2011
CPS-SKEW (2006)
Cornus sericea.
From online fact sheets of the Swiss Commission for Wild Plants Conservation.
Charles-Dominique, T., Edelin, C. & Bouchard, A. (2009)
Architectural strategies of Cornus sericea, a native but invasive shrub of Southern Quebec, Canada, under an open or a closed canopy.
Annals of Botany 105(2): 205-220.
Converse, C. & Eckardt, N. (1987)
Cornus spp.: North American invasive dogwoods.
The Nature Conservancy, Virginia.
Crane, M. F. (1989)
Cornus sericea.
In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer).
Keil, P. & Loos G.H. (2005)
Preliminary account of ergasiophygophytic and xenophytic trees, shrubs and subshrubs in the Central Ruhrgebiet (Germany).
Electronic Publications of the Biological Station of Western Ruhrgebiet 3: 1-12.
Kelly, D.L. (1990)
Cornus sericea L. in Ireland: an incipient weed of wetlands.
Watsonia 18: 33-36.
Lambinon, J., Delvosalle, L. & Duvigneaud, J. (2004)
Nouvelle fore de la Belgique, du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, du Nord de la France et des régions voisines.
Editions du Patrimoine du Jardin botanique national de Belgique, Meise.
Meilleur, A. , Veronneau, H. & Bouchard, A. (1994)
Shrub communities as inhibitors of succession in Southern Quebec.
Environmental Management 18: 907-921.
Meilleur, A., Veronneau, H. & Bouchard, A. (1997)
Shrub propagation techniques for biological control of invading tree species.
Environmental Management 21(3): 433–442.
Middleton, B. (2002)
Winter Burning and the Reduction of Cornus sericea in Sedge Meadows in Southern Wisconsin.
Restoration Ecology 10(4): 723–730.
Van Landuyt, W., Hoste, I., Vanhecke, L., Van den Bremt, P. Vercruysse, W. & De Beer, D. (2006)
Atlas van de Flora van Vlaanderen en het Brussels gewest.
Nationale Plantentuin en het Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek i.s.m. Flo.Wer vzw.
Verloove, F. (2006)
Catalogue of the Neophytes in Belgium (1800-2005).
Scripta Botanica Belgica 39, 89 pp.
Weber, E. & Gut, D. (2004)
Assessing the risk of potentially invasive plant species in central Europe.
Journal for Nature Conservation12: 171-179.
Wittenberg, R. (2005)
An inventory of alien species and their threat to biodiversity and economy in Switzerland.
CABI Bioscience Switzerland Centre report to the Swiss Agency for Environment, Forests and Landscape. The environment in practice no. 0629: 155p.

© 2000-2022 by the Belgian Biodiversity Platform