C. controversa Winter Orange

Discussion in 'Cornus (dogwoods)' started by emery, Aug 14, 2007.

  1. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    This was labeled C. alternifolia, but I believe controversa is correct...

    It is behaving strangely, I wonder if anyone else grows this.

    Initial growth is strong, but then the leaves turn chlorotic and twisted, usually one side is entire but the other side shorter, giving a funny twist. Many leaves fall, then there is a strong secondary flush of growth. The plant is putting on strong growth generally but largely horizontal, although it may (hopefully) be thinking about putting on some height this year.

    There are a few unaffected shoots in the second flush of growth, but these appear to show a very minor variegation, a lighter green in the center. Many of the originally chlorotic leaves that didn't drop are now a deeper green around the chlorosis bands.

    We've had so much water this year that I have a lot of chlorosis due to bad root function elsewhere, but this plant has behaved the same for three years now. No signs of problems on other Cornus in the garden, so I don't think it is a general soil culture issue. But maybe something missing from the area, or some nutrient I could add? There is a Kalopanax near it, planted at the same time, which also shows some chlorosis but good growth.

    Any ideas? The winter bark is indeed very attractive, but right now it looks a bit the dog's breakfast in summer. Thanks in advance.

    -E
     
  2. Gordo

    Gordo Active Member 10 Years

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    Perhaps C. alternifolia 'Argentea' (synonym 'Variegata').
    Many have struggled to grow both of these species, often without success. About this, Cappiello ("Dogwoods", Timberpress 2005) writes; "It is a bit on the tough side to get going in the garden, some might even label it "performance challenged". But for the devout gardener, it is well worth the effort."
     
  3. chimera

    chimera Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Seems young plants of C. controversa 'Variegata' can take some time to form a leader. Not familiar with 'Winter Orange' .
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2007
  4. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    It is not C. alternifolia 'Argentea', I have that plant from a very reliable provenance and so am quite sure it is true to name. I didn't know it was difficult to establish. (The 'Dogwoods' book is on my Christmas list!) My Argentea is doing very well, now in its 4th year. Started as a small plant it has put on very good vertical and horizontal growth, now reaching perhaps 4-5 ft. A very beautiful dogwood.

    I also have C. controversa 'Variegata', and as Chimera suggests it has taken time to make a central leader. The growth is good but bushy, it hasn't put on much height, now being perhaps 6 feet in it's 5th year in the garden. It puts out long stems each year but they seem to want to come from near the base of the plant. It is a showy plant, glowing in full sun and planted as a companion to a large A. palmatum Okagami. Variegata has beautiful purple stems, but is easily distinguishable from Winter Orange even without the leaves.

    W.O. really has a very distinctive bark colour, a sort of light orange that yellows as bud burst approaches. My specimen is now perhaps 3 ft high and 6 in diameter, roughly.

    -E
     
  5. Gordo

    Gordo Active Member 10 Years

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    Cappiello & Shadow's book does not list this cultivar as either C. alternifolia or controversa, however Junker's nursery catalog(UK) lists C. alternifolia 'Winter Orange'.
     
  6. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Interesting, I hadn't noticed that. In fact I was about to write to Ms. Junker on another matter, I will ask her opinion.

    My plant comes from Pep. Adeline in France. It was initially listed as alternifolia, but they have changed the classification to controversa. I seem to vaguely remember looking into it when I noticed the change and concluding it was correct... (too much taxonomy to remember it all!)

    In any case the leaves are quite large, more reminiscent of controversa from what I've seen (which is not enough to make me an expert in the subject).

    Regardless of the classification, I'd like to figure out how to make it grow better! :)

    -E
     
  7. Garden Prince

    Garden Prince Member

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    Maybe its Cornus controversa 'Candle Light'? You can see pictures of this Cornus at the webpage of Esveld Nurseries, Boskoop, The Netherlands. I do not know this plant personally but the description sounds a bit like your plant i.e. yellow leaves. I also do not know if the wintercolour of the branches/bark of Cornus contr. 'Candle Light' is orange like that of Cornus controversa 'Winter Orange'.
     
  8. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Definitely not 'Candle Light.' But that's a great plant that I intend to order (or maybe back order) this winter.

    Ms. Junker feels that alternifolia is appropriate. It doesn't sound as if I've got the same plant from her catalogue, but here is her comment:

    "Our own selection is definitely alternifolia because it sported here from alternifolia 'Argentea'. We feel the other one is probably alternifolia too, though I agree that the leaves are larger than typical alternifolia 'Argentea'. But then, if you look at the species (as opposed to the variegated cultivar), the leaves are generally larger there too. I don't actually know the history of the other one - which is widely distributed on the continent - but maybe it is of hybrid origin which could explain the general uncertainty."

    My apologies to Ms. Junker if quoting her private email here causes offense.

    I will discuss this with Pepenieres Adeline and see if I can shed some further light as to the origin of the plant.

    -E
     

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