Alternate-leaf dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) is a less than common native shrub or small tree in this area of Ohio. I see C.alternifolia in both floodplains and along headwater streams and 9 times out of 10 my first impression is that it is a young sassafras tree. On older twigs it can be hard to see that the leaf scars are alternate - they appear bunched even whorled sometimes however if you find a young fast growing twig it is clear that the tree is alternate. You will almost always notice that one of the lower branches will be dead or will have dead twigs - they will stand out as a bright orange branch.
|old twig and dead twig|