Flowering Dogwood, Cornus florida
Cornaceae or Dogwood Family

Small tree growing in the understory beneath larger trees.  Leaves oval, with veins that parallel the sides of the leaf, turning yellow and orange in the fall.   Like the majority of dogwoods, it has opposite leaves, that is they grow in pairs opposite each other on the twigs.   Flowers in mid spring, just as the leaves are opening.  Flowers are very small, yellow, in a cluster surrounded by four very large white bracts, with indented tips.  The flower cluster resembles a single large flower with 4 white petals.  Fruit a cluster of red berries in the fall.  Even in the winter it may be recognized by the very large flower buds.

Beloved native tree of wooded areas. In Wildwood, common in woodlands, especially on the eastern slope of the Park.

No other native dogwood in this area has four large white bracts resembling a large flower.  Kousa dogwood (C. kousa) is cultivated in other city parks, in yards and on the University campus, and has been planted near the Outdoor Classroom and in a few other places in the Park.  It has similar bracts, but they are pointed rather than indented. It blooms later and the berries grow together into a single, strawberry-like fruit.  When flowering dogwood is not flowering, the arrangement of veins in the leaves identifies it as a dogwood. 

More Information

Flowering plant
Flower head
Autumn leaves
Flower bud in winter


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