Cornus sericea Shrubland Alliance
Red osier thickets

USDA Ecological Section Map

Summary Information

  • Primary Life FormShrub
  • Elevation0-2800 m
  • State RarityS3?
  • Global RarityG4
  • DistributionCAN: BC. USA: AZ, CA, CO, ID, MT, NE, NM, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY (NatureServe)
  • Endemic to CaliforniaNo
  • Endemic to California Floristic Province and DesertsNo
  • Date Added2009/09/01

Characteristic Species

Cornus sericea is dominant or co-dominant in the shrub canopy with Cephalanthus occidentalis, Rubus armeniacus, Rubus parviflorus, Salix exigua and Salix lasiolepis. Emergent trees may be present at low cover, including Alnus rhombifolia or Quercus lobata.

Vegetation Layers

Shrubs < 6 m; cover is intermittent to continuous. Herbaceous layer is open to continuous and variable.

Membership Rules

  • Cornus sericea > 30% relative cover in the shrub canopy; usually with shrubby S. lasiolepis or S. exigua present (Hickson and Keeler-Wolf 2007, Buck-Diaz et al. 2012).


Seasonally flooded stream banks and floodplains, seeps, and seasonally saturated meadow edges. The USFWS Wetland Inventory (1996 national list) recognizes Cornus sericea as a FACW plant.

Other Habitat, Alliance and Community Groupings

MCV (1995) Montane wetland shrub habitat
NVCS (2009) Cornus sericea temporarily flooded shrubland alliance
Calveg Riparian mixed shrub, Dogwood
Holland Great Valley riparian scrub, Montane riparian scrub
Munz Not treated
WHR Montane riparian, Valley foothill riparian
CDFW CA Code 80.100.00

National Vegetation Classification Hierarchy

Formation Class Mesomorphic Tree Vegetation (Forest and Woodland)
Formation Subclass Temperate Forest
Formation Temperate Flooded and Swamp Forest
Division Western North America Flooded and Swamp Forest
Macro Group Western cool temperate scrub swamp
Group Western dogwood thicket