Silky Dogwood (Cornus amomum) represents a group of shrub dogwoods native to Ohio (including alternate-leaf dogwood, roughleaf dogwood, gray dogwood, and bloodtwig dogwood) that have a strongly multistemmed growth habit and are always found in nature as a shrub rather than a tree. The vigorous growth of silky dogwood is optimized in moist to wet sites, but it adapts readily to dry soil conditions in fields and fencerows as well. Colorful summer fruits offer its best ornamental and wildlife asset, while its thin twigs of winter cast a reddish-purple hue to the landscape. Silky dogwood, found throughout all of Ohio, grows to 10 feet tall and 10 feet wide under optimum conditions as a single specimen, although suckering may add to its width over time. As a member of the dogwood family, it is related to the many other species of dogwoods, and distantly related to black tupelo. Silky dogwood prefers moist to wet sites in soils of various composition and pH. It adapts to dry soils, poor soils, or soils that are wet in winter and spring, and dry in summer and autumn. It is found in zones 4 to 8, in full sun to partial shade. Silky dogwood can be infected or infested by a number of diseases and pests that frequent both the shrub and tree dogwoods; however, this species is generally free of problems. In an urban situation, silky dogwood with time may become wider for its intended space than was originally intended. Leaves of silky dogwood are opposite, ovate to elliptical, and have prominent veins that run parallel to the smooth, non-wavy leaf margins. Autumn coloration is often green to chartreuse, but can be reddish-yellow, reddish-orange, or reddish-purple in good years. The mid-spring perfect flowers of silky dogwood are flat-topped, and white but without the large, showy bracts that are characteristic of flowering dogwood. The blue-black fruits mature in mid-summer and are quickly consumed by birds, squirrels, and other woodland mammals. As with most of the "shrub dogwoods" that occur in the fields, forest edges, stream borders, and fencerows of the eastern United States, the growth habit is usually an upright, dense shrub in youth, which becomes a spreading, sprawling, open and loose collection of mature branches and vigorous suckers with age. Winter twigs are thin and often reddish-purple to bronzed, and in the case of silky dogwood may or may not have stalked buds. Branches have beige vertical streaks on a reddish-purple inner bark, which becomes a blocky, gray-brown bark at maturity, very similar to that of flowering dogwood.