Empress of China Dogwood, a high-performing tree in the Southern Living Plant Collection, received Wild Iris, LMDRrecognition as a Gold Medal Plant winner for 2015. Winners were chosen from five categories: natives, annuals, trees, shrubs and vines, and groundcovers.

Empress of China Dogwood is an evergreen tree that works well as an accent plant in the landscape. It will add year-round interest, but is spectacular when it showcases hundreds of creamy white blooms in the early summer. It is characterized by a graceful habit with branches that hold up to 150 blooms each, which eventually transform into translucent strawberry-like fruit. This vigorous grower reaches 15-18 foot high and 13-15 foot wide at maturity. It thrives in full- to partial-shade and is hardy to USDA zone 6.

The Gold Medal Plant Program was established to promote the use of superior ornamental plants in Georgia. It is the combined effort of the State Botanical Garden of Georgia; the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension; University faculty members; and nurserymen, flower growers, garden retailers and landscape professionals.