Trees of Alabama and the Southeast

Lisa Samuelson, Ph.D.
School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
Auburn University

FLOWERING DOGWOOD
Cornus florida
Cornaceae

Leaves are simple, opposite, deciduous, oval to elliptical in shape, and with lateral veins running parallel to the leaf margin (arcuate venation). Small white hairs can be seen when you split the leaf. Twigs are green to purple-green in color with V-shaped leaf scars. Leaf buds with two non-overlapping bud scales (valvate). Flower buds are shaped like onions. Bark is brown-black and blocky. Flowers are surrounded by four white sepals. Fruit is a shiny red drupe. Form is up to 12 m (40 ft) in height and 30 cm (1 ft) in diameter. Flowering dogwood is found as an understory tree on moist, well-drained soils in the southeastern U.S. The wood is hard and used for tool handles and mallet heads. The fruit is important to wildlife and is eaten by many species of birds and mammals. A popular ornamental but suffers from disease on poor sites.

Photographs by Mike Hogan.

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