Rough-leaved dogwood is a native woody shrub or tree common in most areas of Illinois except for the northeastern part of the state. During late spring or early summer cymes of white flowers develop and remain in bloom for 2-3 weeks. The photo above was taken two weeks ago, but a few blooms still remain.
The nectar and pollen of the dogwood attract a host of different species of bees and other insects. Later in the summer white drupes develop, which are a high-caloric food source for many birds and some mammals. This has been one of the difficulties in identifying this dogwood for me, because I've never seen the drupes. However, according to Illinois Wildflowers they disappear rapidly in the fall because of their attractiveness to wildlife, so perhaps that is the reason I've never seen them. Young twigs and branchlets are a reddish brown; the red twigs in winter were the first clue for me that this was some type of dogwood.
Rough-leaved Dogwood develops from a branching taproot. "However, if this woody plant is subjected to disturbance, it may develop suckers or underground runners that send up vegetative shoots. These vegetative shoots can develop into a colony of multistemmed shrubs" (Illinois Wildflowers). Obviously, I have disturbed this plant because it has responded to my attempts in cutting back suckers to tame it by producing even more. Despite its importance to pollinators and wildlife, Rough-leaved dogwood is not a plant I would recommend adding to your garden, especially in a suburban landscape. But in a woodland setting or in the wild, such as at the nearby forest preserve where I've seen it growing along the trails, it is rather pretty, especially in bloom.
While I didn't plant the Rough-leaved Dogwood, I did purposely plant some Butterfly weed, Asclepias tuberosa which seems to grow larger and larger each year. The blooms start out orange and then turn to an orangey-yellow as they open fully.
The foliage of this plant is consumed by the Monarch caterpillars, which is why I planted it in the first place. But if you look carefully at this enlarged photo, you'll see it attracts all kinds of insects. If anyone can identify these striped insects, I would love to know what they are because I have them everywhere. The smaller insects are also a mystery--after zooming in much more closely, I'm pretty sure they are some kind of alien ants:)
My favorite natives, the purple coneflowers and the black-eyed Susans are just beginning to bloom here. But as a taste of what is to come, here are two photos taken of a Rudbeckia fulgida taken yesterday morning at the Idea Garden.
Celebrating National Pollinators Week, this is another reminder why native plants are so BEE-autiful!
This post is part of the Wildflower Wednesday hosted by pollinator champion Gail at Clay and Limestone, the fourth Wednesday of every month, not the last Wednesday. (Note to self: check the calendar!)