It’s not a dogwood but when in bloom, it is a stunning lookalike and a good substitute for the spring-blooming dogwood for showy white flowers. It’s the doublefile viburnum (Viburnum plicatum tomentosam).
It is a large shrub and needs a wide space to grow. Ours is close to 9′ tall and the branches spread horizontally almost as wide as as it is tall. In the spring, each layered branch is thick with white, flat flowers that are about 3″ in diameter.
The outer ring of florets are sterile and the small buds in the center, yet opened, are the fertile blooms. In the fall, these fertile flowers produce a profusion of red fruit that darken to black, but I hardly have time to photograph them before the birds consume them. By far, it’s the most relished bird food in my fall garden.
The blooms stand in paired rows or in ‘doublefile’ above the stems like little soldiers. And it’s just as beautiful from our second story window as from the ground.
In the fall, it produces a lovely display when the leaves turn a firery deep red and in winter, the gray bark is interesting as well. Truly, the doublefile viburnum is a fabulous multi-season shrub.
Hardiness Zones: 5-8