flowering dogwood
Cornus florida
  • LEAVES: opposite, simple, deciduous; elliptic, arcuate venation; passes the dogwood test
  • FLOWER: cluster of small flowers surrounded by 4 large bracts; before leaves
  • FRUIT: red drupe, 1/2”, small tight clusters, matures in fall
  • TWIGS: scalloping; large onion-shaped flower buds
  • BARK: gray to black when mature; broken up into small blocks; alligator skin
  • FORM: small tree, spreading crown, very obvious when flowering in spring.
  • HABITAT: understory tree, occurring on moist upland soils including lower slopes and well-drained stream banks; sensitive to dry conditions and not occurring or dry sandy soils
  • WETLAND DESIGNATION: In the "Western Gulf Coast Subregion" of the Atlantic and Gulf Coast Plain Region, this species is Obligate Upland (UPL): Almost never occurs in wetlands. In the remainder of the Atlantic and Gulf Coast Plain Region, this species is Facultative Upland (FACU): Usually occur in non-wetlands, but may occur in wetlands
  • RANGE: eastern US
  • USES: ornamental; hard dense wood used for weaving spindles and novelties; song and game birds, small and large mammals eat fruit, good deer and cattle browse
  • Best Recognition Features:
    1. opposite leaves with arcuate venation
    2. large showy white flowers
    3. onion-shaped terminal flower buds
    4. alligator bark on mature trees

    NOTE: Other shrubs and trees with arcuate venation include other dogwoods (Cornus), Virginiawillow (Itea), and Carolina buckthorn (Frangula)