The most distinctive part of a red-osier dogwood is the red bark. This is especially noticeable in late winter before the buds are out.
Dogwoods are valuable to wildlife, says the Canadian Wildlife Federation. They slow erosion of hillsides and shores. Their flowers attract pollinators.
In winter moose eat the branches, says Plants of the Western Forest. Bears eat the berries.
Red-osier dogwood (cornus stolonifera) grows throughout Canada, says Edible and Medicinal Plants of Canada. The berries are bitter, but were eaten by Indigenous peoples. Large quantities of the berries and all other parts of the plant can be toxic.