Cornus Sericea. Swamp Dogwood.

Botanical name: 

Table 09. Cornus sericea. Red-Willow. Rose-willow. New-England Dogwood. Female Dogwood. Silky-leaved Dogwood. American Red-rod Cornel: — Blue berried Dogwood; and Blue berried Cornus, in England.

Cornus sericea,
L. Sp. Plant. 1. p. 663.
Gron. Virg. ed. n. 20.
Cold. Novebor. 17.
Shoepf. Mat. Med. Am. p. 14.
L'Herit. Corn. n. 6. t. 2.
Willd. Arb. 75.
Syst. Veg. 134.
Mant. 199.
Mill. Dict. n. 5.
Du Roi. Harbk. 1. p. 165.
Wangenh. Amer. 90.
Ehrh. Beitr. 4. p. 15.
Pluk. Aim. 121. t. 169. f. 3.
Lin. Pfl. Syst. 1. p. 242.
Willd. Sp. Pl. p. 663.
Bart. Fl. Virg. Gron. p. 46.
Pursh. Fl. Am. Sep. vol. 1. p. 108.
Mich. Fl. Boreali-Am. vol. 1. p. 92.
Walker's Inaug. Diss.
Thatcher's Am. Disp. 2d ed. p. 200.
Coxe's Am. Disp. ed. 3d. p. 286.
Pharm. Mass. Med. Soc. p. 13.
Barton's Collections, part 1. p. 12. part 2. p. 17-20. ed. 3d. part 1. p. 12. part 2. p. 17.
Ait. Hort. Kew. ed. 2d. vol. 1. p. 262.
Ray's Letters, 171.
Jungh. Plant. Ic. cent. 1. t. 23.
Barton's Elements of Botany, part 3. p. 16.
Lin. Mantis. 199.
Syst. Veg. 134.
Gmelin, Syst. Nat. 11. p. 257.
Forster. Fl. Am. Sept. p. 6.
Marshall. Arbust. p. 36.
Bartram's Travels, p. 321.
Barton's Fl. Phil. p. 26.
Walter's Carol, p. 88.
Clayton, No. 23.
Cold. Noveb. 17.
Elliot's Sketch Fl. Car. et Georg. p. 207.
Muhl. Cat. Am. Sep. p. 17.
Pers. Syn. Plan. vol. 1. p. 143.
Nuttall, Gen. Am, Plants, p. 98.


(For generic character, see Cornus florida, p. 43, with this addition, "Corculum of the seed long, involved in a carneous perisperm." — Nuttall.)

Cornus sericea, ramis patulis: ramulis lanuginosis, foliis ovatis, acuminatis, subtus ferrugineo-pubescentibu?, cymis depressis lanuginosis. ♄. Willd. Sp. Plant. 1. p. 663.

Cornus lanuginosa, patula: ramulis lanuginosis: foliis ovalibus acuminatis, plerisque basi subrotundata obtusis, subtus manifeste pubescentibus: cymis confertioribus, lanuginosis. Obs. folia inferiora interdum subcordata. ♄. Mich. Fl. Boreal. Am. vol. 1. p. 92.


Cornus arborea, cymis nudis, foliis subtus sericeis. Syst. Veg. et Mantis.
C. Amomus, arborea, foliis ovatis petiolatis, floribus corymbosis terminalibus. Mill. Dict. Du Roi. Harbk. Wangenh. Am. et Shoepf. Mat. Med. Am.
C. foemina, floribus candidissimis umbellatim dispositis, baccis coeruleo-viridibus, ossiculo duro compresso biloculari. Cold. Noveb. et Gron. Virg.
C. rubiginosa. Ehrh. Beitr.
C. Americana sylvestris domesticae similis, bacca coerulei coloris elegantissima. Pluk. Aim
C. sanguinea. Forster, Fl. Am. Sep. Marshall. Arbust. and Bartram's Travels.
C. sanguinea: arborea, cymis nudis, ramis rectis subrubris, drupis coeruleis. Walt. Car.

Pharm. Corni sericeae, cortex
Qual. Baccarum parenchyma viride amaro-adstringens.
Usus: foha Indigent Tabaco admiscent. Ligni us. mechan. Shoepf. Mat. Med.

Descriptio Uberior.

Frutex biorgyalis. Radix lignosa, ramosa, dilute grisea, odore quasi Glycyrrhizx proximo s radicuhs subfuscis. Caulis erectus, teres, ramosus, griseus. Rami oppositi, teretes, patuh, obscure purpurascentes. Turiones teretes, annulati, subimmaevdati et atropurpurascentes, ut in C. sanguined, juniores plus minusve pubescentes. Folia opposita, petiolata, ovata s. ovato-lanceolat'a, acuminata, integra, nervosa, subvenosa: costa nervisque infra elevatis, supra exaratis; subtus villosa ferruginea inprimis ad nervos, nunc nudiuscida, patentia, plana, juniora lateribus subconniventia, 3 poll. long. 18. lin. lat. Petioli hinc teretes, inde unisulci, folio quater breviores, villosi, purpurascentes. Cymsc terminales, pedunculatae, erectae, depressx, vix convexx, tri-quadripartitse flore sohtario intermedio, villosa:, 2 pol. lat. Flores pedicellati, horizontales, albi disco primum albo post anthesin fusco, odori, 4-5 lin. lat. Cahx, Perianthium superum, monophyllum, quadridentatum, villosum .eniieulis linearibus, acutis, patentibus; persistens, vix 2 hn. lat. Corolla. Petala 4, epigyna, linearia, acuta, patentia, mox revoluta, coronam germinis cingentia, cahce majora. Stamina. Filamenta 4, epigyna, erecto-divergentia, corolla vix longiora, infra coronam germinis uti petala inserts. Anthera oblongiusculse, biloculares, incumbentes, peltatac, luteae. Pistillum. Gennen inferum, globoso-urceolatum, villosum, coronatum nectario receptaculiformi, piano. Stylus filiformis, staminibus vix brevior. Stigma capitatum, pubescens. Pericarpium. Drupa bacciformis, globosa, calice umbilicata, basi excavata, carnosa, demum aquosa, elcganter csrulea, intus alba, unilocularis, 3 lin. lat. Semen. JVux subrotunda, compressa, nervosa, bilocularis, 18 lin. lat.
L'Herit. Corn. 6.

The Cornus sericea is a shrub seldom attaining more than 12 feet height. Its most common stature is from six to eight feet. The stems are numerous, straight, and covered with a shining reddish bark. The root is ligneous, branched, of a light grayish colour, and smells somewhat like liquorice-root; the radicles are reddish. The stem is erect, cylindrical, and branched. The branches are opposite, roundish, spreading, and of a dingy-purple colour. The young shoots are round, ringed, nearly without spots, and of a dark purple colour; the very young ones more or less pubescent. The leaves are opposite, petiolated, ovate, pointed, entire on their margins, nerved, and somewhat veined; having the middle rib and nerves projecting underneath, and sunk above. The under surface of the leaves, particularly near the costa and nerves, is covered with a dense, brownish, villous coat. The young leaves are doubled by the approximation of their sides; when full grown, they are plane, as represented in the largest leaf of the plate. They vary in size; but in general when mature, are three inches long and an inch and an half broad. The petioles are one-fourth the length of the leaves, round below, with a slight furrow above, villous, and purplish. The flowers are borne in cymes, which are terminal, pedunculated, erect, flat above, or occasionally a little convex. The expanded flowers of each cyme are not very numerous. Calix monophyllous, fourtoothed, villous; the teeth are linear, acute, spreading, persistent, about two lines broad. The corolla consists of four linear, acute, spreading petals, larger than the calix. Stamens; four erect diverging filaments, scarcely longer than the corolla; anthers peltate, oblong, and of a yellow colour. Pistillwn; germen below, globosepitcher-shaped, and villous. Style filiform, hardly shorter than the stamens. Stigma capitated and pubescent. The fruit consists of a collection of berry-formed globular, fleshy drupes, of a beautiful ccerulean blue colour. Each berry is excavated at the base, white within, l-locular. Seed; a roundish, compressed, nerved, 2-celled nut.

The geographical range of the Swamp-Dogwood is extensive. It inhabits moist thickets, the borders of swamps, rivers, creeks, and rivulets. Its common companions are Cephalanthus occidentalis, Viburnun dentatum, V. acerifolium, V. nudum, Cornus alba, and C. stricta. The last-mentioned shrub it resembles exceedingly, and may easily be confounded with it, unless carefully examined. It flowers in June and July, and ripens its berries in September. In England, where it was cultivated before 1683, by Bishop Compton, it blooms as late as August.

Chemical Analysis.

Under this head, in the article on the Cornus florida, will be found Dr. Walker's analysis of the Cornus sericea. His comparative experiments, of the properties of the Peruvian bark and these two species of Cornus, are extremely interesting, and have produced results highly favourable to these articles, as medicines.

Medical Properties.

The medicinal virtues of the Swamp-Dogwood, are the same as those of the common Dogwood; and both are allied in their effects, to the Peruvian bark. The Cornus sericea is therefore a stimulant and tonic, and may be used in powder, or in tincture with proof spirit. About a scruple and an half, and from that quantity to a drachm of the former, may be given at a dose, and repeated three or four times a day. The usual proportion of the spirituous tincture may be used. 1 am inclined to think that the pulverized bark of the Swamp-Dogwood, is not so much used bycountry practitioners as that of the Dogwood, but it is certainly not less deserving the attention of physicians; particularly as the difficulty of procuring genuine Peruvian bark is well known.

Oeconomical Use.

The young stems and branches of this species of Cornus are very straight, and when recently cut, quite flexible. They are used in making baskets of a coarse kind, such as, the large fishbaskets used in the New Fish Market of Philadelphia; most of these are made of this shrub. They are worked up most easily when the bark is left on them. The bark is mixed with tobacco, and smoked by the Indians of our country. This fact is mentioned by Shoepf, and afterwards by Dr. Barton. The latter tells us that some of these savages of the Delaware stock, call the mixture Kin-ni-ha-nick. The bark of this Cornus is a favourite article of winter food of the Castor fiber, or American beaver. The ripe berries are greedily eaten by the common domestic fowl. From the bark of the more fibrous roots of this shrub, the Indians obtain a good scarlet colour, which they use in dyeing some parts of their dress. (Barton's Med. and Phys. Jour.)

Table IX.

Fig. 1. A portion of the Cornus sericea, taken in flower in the month of June.
2. A full grown flower, in front view.
3. A back view of the same.
4. The same without petals.
5. A petal.
6. A stamen shewing the oblong pelate anther.
7. The pistil.
8. The berried.
All the figures of the size of nature.

Vegetable Materia Medica of the U.S. or Medical Botany, 1817 (Vol. I), 1818 (Vol. II), was written by William P. C. Barton, M. D.