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Cornus florida (Flowering dogwood) | NPIN
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Cornus florida (Flowering dogwood)
Makin, Julie

Cornus florida

Cornus florida L.

Flowering dogwood, Virginia dogwood

Cornaceae (Dogwood Family)

Synonym(s): Cynoxylon floridum

USDA Symbol: cofl2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

Sometimes considered the most spectacular of the native, flowering trees, flowering dogwood is a 20-40 ft., single- or multi-trunked tree with a spreading crown and long-lasting, showy, white and pink spring blooms. A lovely, small, flowering tree with short trunk and crown of spreading or nearly horizontal branches. Graceful, horizontal-tiered branching; red fruits; and scarlet-red fall foliage are other landscape attributes. Flowering dogwood is deciduous.

Flowering Dogwood is one of the most beautiful eastern North American trees with showy early spring flowers, red fruit, and scarlet autumn foliage. The hard wood is extremely shock-resistant and useful for making weaving-shuttles. It is also made into spools, small pulleys, mallet heads, and jewelers blocks. Indians used the aromatic bark and roots as a remedy for malaria and extracted a red dye from the roots.

The genus cornus is Latin for a horn.

 

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf: Green
Autumn Foliage: yes
Flower: Flowers 3 inches
Fruit: Red 1/2 inch
Size Class: 12-36 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct

Distribution

USA: AL , AR , CT , DC , 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
Canada: ON
Native Distribution: FL to TX, n. to s. ME, Ont., s. IL, extreme s.e. KS & OK
Native Habitat: Thickets, Stream, river banks, Shaded woods. Deciduous woods; thickets; bluffs; wood edges; dry uplands

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Cold Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Rich, well-drained, acid soil. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Acid-based

Benefit

Use Ornamental: Showy, Fall conspicuous, Shade tree, Attractive, Blooms ornamental
Use Wildlife: Fruit-birds, Fruit-mammals, Fruit-deer.
Use Medicinal: Dried, ground bark was used as a quinine substitute for treating fevers. A bark decoction was used to treat mouth problems, and the fibrous twigs were used as chewing sticks, said to whiten teeth. (Kershaw) Tea made of boiled inner bark used to reduce fevers; during Civil War dogwood bark used as substitute for quinine. (Weiner)
Use Other: Some tribes used the roots to make a scarlet dye for colouring porcupine quills and eagle feathers. The bark also yields a red dye. (Kershaw)
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant Flowers: yes
Attracts: Birds , Butterflies
Larval Host: Spring Azure.

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees
Supports Conservation Biological Control

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Cornus florida is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Spring Azure
(Celastrina "ladon" )

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA

Propagation

Propagation Material: Seeds
Description: Sow seeds outdoors immediately after collection or stratify and sow the following spring.
Seed Treatment: Stratify for 30-60 days at 41 degrees.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: Prune to maintain shape, Prune in early spring, Prevent complete soil dryness, Maintain mulch layer, Fertilize in spring and fall with azalea/camellia-type fertilizer

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Native alternative for Japanese Red Maple in Oklahoma
October 12, 2009
Mr. Smarty Plants, I am looking for a native alternative to a Japanese Red Maple. I would like a small tree that I can put in my front garden that will not pose a security risk my being overgrown and ...
view the full question and answer

Attracting butterflies in Tennessee
July 03, 2009
What flowers and plants do the caterpillars in Tennessee eat? And do you know what butterflies live in Tipton Co. Tennessee?
view the full question and answer

Non-toxic shade trees for horses in Florida
April 01, 2009
Looking for non poisonous shade trees for pasture with horses. Would prefer flowering or something that changes color. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Availability of Cornus florida (flowering dogwood) for Central Texas
March 26, 2007
I'd like to buy a flowering dogwood tree. Love the fall berries and spring flowers. I haven't had been able to find them at the nurseries I frequent (Great Outdoors, Natural Gardener, Breed, Barton ...
view the full question and answer

From the National Suppliers Directory

According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:

Edge of the Woods Native Plant Nursery - Orefield, PA
LAMTREE FARM - Warrensville, NC
American Native Nursery - Quakertown, PA
Toadshade Wildflower Farm - Frenchtown, NJ

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Native Plant Center at Westchester Community College, The - Valhalla, NY
Pineywoods Native Plant Center - Nacogdoches, TX
Texas Discovery Gardens - Dallas, TX
Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Crosby Arboretum - Picayune, MS
Stengl Biological Research Station - Smithville, TX
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
Georgia Native Plant Society - Atlanta, GA
Longwood Gardens - Newark, DE
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

Bibliography

Bibref 766 - Dale Groom's Texas Gardening Guide (2002) Groom, D.
Bibref 1207 - Earth Medicine, Earth Food (1990) Michael A. Weiner
Bibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright
Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 355 - Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest (1991) Miller, G. O.
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender

Search More Titles in Bibliography

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1992 VOL. 9, NO.1 - Research Update, Creating Native Lawn with Sod, Director's Report, What Makes Pl...
Wildflower Newsletter 1994 VOL. 11, NO.6 - Wildflower Center Featured Non-Profit in Neiman Marcus Christmas Book, Dana Leav...
Wildflower Newsletter 1996 VOL. 13, NO.6 - Winter Wonderland, Origins of the Christmas Tree, Development Director\\\'s Repo...

Recommended Species Lists

Find native plant species by state. Each list contains commercially available species suitable for gardens and planned landscapes. Once you have selected a collection, you can browse the collection or search within it using the combination search.

View Recommended Species page

Additional resources

USDA: Find Cornus florida in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Cornus florida in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Cornus florida

Metadata

Record Modified: 2013-09-07
Research By: TWC Staff

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