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Word of the Week: Vinaceous
February 26, 2021 by Haya Aldoori

Welcome to Word of the Week! Stay tuned for a new word each Friday to amp up your nature vocabulary!

Vinaceous [vahy-NEY-shuhs] (adjective): Describing something that is of the colour of red wine.

This fun word comes from the Latin word “vinum” which means wine.

Whether the winter landscape is brown or white from the snow, the deep wine-red colour of Red-osier Dogwood always attracts the eye.

This shrub is extremely important to humans and other animals. It is an excellent nitrogen fixer and can stabilize the soil, protecting it from erosion. The branches provide shelter for animals. Dogwood flowers provide nectar to pollinating insects and then become fruit that will get eaten by birds and mammals. Even the buds, twigs, and leaves are munched on occasionally by wildlife.

Red-osier dogwoods look beautiful year-round. In the spring they have cute little white flowers. In the summer, they produce bluish-white berries that contrast nicely against the leaves and branches. In the fall, the leaves turn different shades of red and orange. In the winter, the vinaceous branches offer a much needed pop of colour to the winter landscape.

On your next winter visit to High Park, keep an eye out for the vinaceous branches of Red-osier Dogwood!

FUN FACT: The wine-red colour of Red-osier Dogwood branches is most vibrant on the young growth.

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