- Common Name(s):
- Flowering dogwood
- 'Cherokee Princess' - white, 'Sweetwater' - red , 'Cherokee Chief' - red, 'Pygmy' - dwarf, 'Appalachian Spring' - white, 'Rubra' - pink, 'Cherokee Daybreak' - variegated foliage, 'Cherokee Sunset' -variegated foliage, 'Cherokee Brave' - red, 'Cloud 9' - white
- Native Plants, Trees
Cornus florida, commonly known as flowering dogwood, is a small deciduous tree that typically grows 15-30’ tall with a low-branching, broadly-pyramidal but somewhat flat-topped habit. It arguably may be the most beautiful of the native American flowering trees. It is native from Maine to southern Ontario to Illinois to Kansas south to Florida, Texas, and Mexico. It is the state tree of Missouri and Virginia.
This plant has bright red fruits that are bitter and inedible to humans (some authors say poisonous) but are loved by birds. The fruits mature in late summer to early fall and may persist until late in the year.
The common name of dogwood is in probable reference to an old-time use of hard slender stems from this tree for making skewers once known as dags or dogs.
Regions: Mountain. Piedmont, Coastal Plains
Seasons of Interest: Mountain, Piedmont, Coastal Plains
Leaves: Fall Blooms: Early spring Nut/Fruit/Seed: Fall
Play Value: Wildlife Enhancement
Wildlife Value: This plant is moderately resistant to damage from deer. It is a host plant for the Azure butterfly. Butterflies nectar on the blooms. Its fruits are eaten by songbirds, ruffed grouse, quail, wild turkey, chipmunks, black bear, foxes, white-tailed deer, skunks, and squirrels. Members of the genus Cornus support the following specialized bees: Andrena (Gonandrena) fragilis, Andrena (Gonandrena) integra, and Andrena (Gonandrena) platyparia.
Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems: The Flowering dogwood, when stressed, is susceptible to a rather large number of disease problems, the most serious of which is dogwood anthracnose. This disease has caused considerable devastation in parts of the eastern U.S. The plants are also susceptible to powdery mildew, leaf spot, canker, root rot and leaf and twig blight. Stressed trees also become vulnerable to borers. Leaf miner and scale are less serious potential insect pests. The foliage is browsed by white-tailed deer.
- 15-30 ft.
- The flowering dogwood blooms in early spring (April) shortly after, but usually overlapping, the bloom period of the redbuds. The true dogwood flowers are actually tiny, yellowish green and insignificant, being compacted into button-like clusters. However, each flower cluster is surrounded by four showy, white, petal-like bracts which open flat, giving the appearance of a single, large, 3-4” diameter, 4-petaled, white flower.
- The Flowering dogwood is easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. It prefers moist, organically rich, acidic soils in part shade. It will benefit from a 2-4” mulch which will help keep roots cool and moist in summer.
- Semi-rounded top; horizontal low branches creating a layered look
- Partial shade; moderate to well-drained soil
- White flowers in spring; red berries in fall
- 15-20 ft.
- Growth Rate:
- Slow to moderate
- The Flowering dogwood has oval, opposite, simple dark green leaves (3-6” long) that turn attractive shades of red in fall.
NCCES plant id: 471