Deciduous shrub or small tree to about 7 m tall with distinctive flat-tiered branches and foliage. Leaves alternate, to about 10 cm long, ovate to elliptic, crowded at the ends of the branches, dark green above, waxy-blue below, vein pairs 5-6. Flowers small, cream, in clusters about 5 cm wide; late spring to early summer. Fruit black with a blue waxy covering.
E North America.
C. controversa Hemsl. is similar, having tiered branches, but has leaves with hair below with mostly 6-8 vein pairs and open flower clusters at least 10-15 cm wide; it has a cultivar 'Variegata',Table-top Dogwood or Wedding Cake Tree, with narrow leaves and an irregular cream border with green marbling.This was probably introduced to the West by the London nurseryman Veitch before 1890.
Source: (2002). Cornaceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 3. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 2. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.
Leaves white-margined on tiered branches. Int. Temple and Beard Nsy, Massachusetts, USA, pre-1900.