Lindsay again writes today's entry:
Red-osier dogwood is a common shrub found wild throughout North America, in addition to being a popular ornamental (particularly for winter interest). In many older texts, you will find Cornus sericea referred to as Cornus stolonifera.
Recent studies have raised the profile of this riparian species with respect to its use in land reclamation. Researchers from the Department of Renewable resources at the University of Alberta in conjunction with the Botany Department at the University of Manitoba, conducted an investigation on sodium chloride and sodium sulfate uptake in tailing waters produced as a result of surface mining (see: Renault et al. 2001. Effects of NaCl and Na2SO4 on red-osier dogwood (Cornus stolonifera Michx) seedlings. Plant and Soil. 233(2):261-268 doi:10.1023/A:1010512021353 ). In this study, red-osier dogwood seedlings were demonstrated to be relatively resistant to the high salinity tailings waters produced by the oil sands industry.
Salinity can reduce plant growth by both osmotic and ionic effects. An accumulation of ions in plant tissues can affect membrane selective permeability, altering the uptake of ions and possibly resulting in nutrient deficiency or toxicity. Photosynthetic activity is also limited in a saline environment because of a decrease in stomatal conductance, restricting gas exchange between the plant and the atmosphere. In many plants, salt resistance depends on the ability of the root system to restrict Na+ and Cl-transport to the shoots. Within a certain range of concentration, the roots of Cornus sericea are able to selectively restrict transport of sodium chloride and sodium sulfate to the leaves making them an ideal pioneering species for use in land reclamation.
Botany / photography resource link (added by Daniel): Thank you to Adolf Ceska for sending this link along: botany.cz. It's like Botany Photo of the Day, but with sometimes 4 or 5 entries in a day (it helps to have 30 contributors). And it's in Czech. If you're like me, you'll still enjoy visiting for the photographs.