Flowering dogwood, or Cornus florida, is a small to medium sized tree that can get as high as 30 feet in height and 35 feet across. Typically though, it will be found at 15 feet tall and across. It has a flat to rounded crown with layered tiers of branches. Dogwood blooms in the spring for 2 to 3 weeks. The “flowers” are actually bracts. There are four of them and they are usually white though there are pink varieties. Once the petals, or bracts, have dropped, Dogwood is almost invisible until the weather cools. Then its simple leaves turn bright red, followed in winter by clusters of pretty red fruit.

Dogwood occurs across the eastern United States and Canada, reaching down to Florida and as far west as Ontario and Texas. They do well in the UK too, but not on chalky soil. This is a woodland tree that prefers humusy rich, acidic soil and cool damp roots. Broken shade is preferred in hotter areas and more direct sun in cooler.

This is possibly North America’s most elegant native tree and its moderate size makes it adaptable to any garden. It has spectacular 3-season interest: spring, autumn and winter.

Its cousin, the Kousa dogwood, is also quite beautiful.

Flowering dogwood


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