University of Maryland Extension

Spot Anthracnose of Dogwood or Elsinoë Leaf spot

small dark spots on dogwood leaves

Key Points

  • The fungus Elsinoë corni causes a spot anthracnose primarily on Cornus floridaThis disease should not be mistaken for another more serious dogwood disease called dogwood anthracnose caused by the fungus Discula destructiva
  • The disease can infect flower bracts, leaves, and fruit.  The fungal lesions are about 1/8 of an inch across with a tan center surrounded by a reddish-purple border.
  • These spots can be numerous and often fall out producing a ragged leaf appearance.
  • The fungus overwinters on twigs and infections begin as new growth emerges in the spring.
  • This disease is worse in wet weather.


  • Plant cultivars resistant to spot anthracnose.

  • Rake and discard symptomatic foliage.

  • Since disease severity is sporadic depending on how wet the spring season is routine fungicide applications are not recommended.

  • Fungicides will not cure visible symptoms. If spot anthracnose is severe on young trees, they can be protected with a registered fungicide applied in the spring at bud break followed by additional sprays every 7 - 14 days until leaves are fully expanded.

Additional Resources

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