Photo Credit
Photo courtesy of Ken Voorhis.

Flowering dogwood

Scientific name
Cornus florida
Also Known As
Eastern dogwood
Plant Family
One of the showiest dogwoods in the East due to its large, white, rounded bracts (look like petals). Dogwoods have prominent leaf veins which curve parallel to the margins of the leaves. They are unusual in having flower parts in fours.
Identification Hints

One of the showiest dogwoods in the East due to its large, white, rounded bracts that look like petals. Dogwoods have prominent leaf veins which curve parallel to the margins of the leaves. They are unusual in having flower parts in fours.

Did You Know?

Flowering dogwood is a very popular tree often used as an ornamental. You might find non native cultivars with different colored flowers (red and pink). Many species of birds and mammals browse the fruits, leaves, and twigs. The white wood is hard, tough, close-grained, and good for making tool handles.

Leaves
The oval-shaped leaves are simple, opposite, and 4 to 6 in (10 to 16 cm) long by 2 to 3 in (5 to 8 cm) wide. Leaves range from green to red spots to reddish throughout the growing season. They usually have slightly fuzzy, dark green upper surfaces while the underside is paler and hairy.The leaf base is v-shaped (acute) and the tip is pointed. The leaf margin (edge) is smooth, but the entire leaf may appear wavy and not flat. Like most dogwoods, the leaves have unique curved veins that are parallel to the rounded edges of the leaves.
Flowers
There appears to be four large white to pinkish petals, which may or may not overlap at the base forming a flower approximately 2 to 3 in (5 to 9 cm) wide. These petal-like structures are actually bracts, which surround the tiny cluster of flowers in the center. Each showy, white bract has a notch at its tip, which forms an “m” shape. The cleft of this notch may appear dry, or tinged slightly brown. The tiny flowers are green, and less than a quarter of an inch (0.64 cm) tall and wide. All are clustered in the center of the bracts. All flowers are located on the tops of the branches, with their faces pointing up.
Fruits
The fruits are bright red and berry-like (drupes) in flat topped clusters of 20 to 40. Each fruit has two seeds or pits in center. Fruits are distinctly oval in shape, with a small dark extension of the fruit covering (like the “bottom” of an apple) on the tip of the oval not attached to the stem (petiole).
Bark
Grayish-brown, thick and rough with angular scales that appear as small, pebbly blocks.
Habitat
Flowering dogwood grows in the well-drained, light upland soils to deep, moist soils along streams and lower slopes.
Bloom Time
Spring (April to May).
States
AL, AR, CT, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MO, MS, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WV