The Q&A Archives: Flowering Tree

Question: I live in the Hudson Valley in New York. There is a beautiful tree that has been blooming for the past several weeks and I have been trying to find out what it is. It is on a sturdy, but relatively thin trunk and it grows up and out like an umbrella. The flowers are flat, like pansys, and white, but just this week have begun to turn pink. Do you have any idea what this tree is? I would love to plant one in my yard. They appear to be indigenous to this area, since I see them all along the Palisades Parkway heading north.

Answer: It could be Cornus alternifolia (Pagoda dogwood). This small tree (up to 40' tall) has a flat-topped shape to it, with horizontal layers of branches. It is quite common in the northeast. The flowers have 4 petals (actually, bracts); each "petal" has a small notch in the end. That's my guess!

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