PlantsDogwoods→Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)

Common names:
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Give a thumbs up Eastern Dogwood
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General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Tree
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Partial or Dappled Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Moderately acid (5.6 – 6.0)
Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Plant Height: 20-50 feet
Plant Spread: 25-50 feet
Leaves: Good fall color
Unusual foliage color
Fruit: Showy
Edible to birds
Fruiting Time: Late summer or early fall
Flowers: Showy
Blooms on old wood
Other: the white "flowers" are actually bracts surrounding the almost insignificant flowers
Flower Color: Pink
Other: tiny true yellowish flowers in center, big white to rose bracts
Bloom Size: 1"-2"
Flower Time: Spring
Uses: Flowering Tree
Will Naturalize
Edible Parts: Fruit
Dynamic Accumulator: P (Phosphorus)
K (Potassium)
Ca (Calcium)
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Propagation: Seeds: Suitable for wintersowing
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Stem
Cuttings: Tip
Cuttings: Cane
Other: greenwood cuttings in spring, hardwood cuttings in summer
Pollinators: Various insects
Containers: Not suitable for containers
Miscellaneous: Monoecious


May Plants for Honey BeesMay Plants for Honey Bees
By Mindy03 on May 11, 2012

May is the month when late spring blooms are going strong and early summer blooms are getting ready to show off. The living is good for honey bees.

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Posted by SongofJoy (Clarksville, TN - Zone 6b) on Oct 5, 2011 8:29 AM

Numerous species of birds feed on the red ripe fruit of Dogwood trees, swallowing the entire berry. The seeds inside the fruit are undamaged and softened in the digestive process. They are then passed in bird droppings to be scattered and "planted" many places. Other animals such as squirrels eat and destroy the seeds from the center of the fruit and leave the surrounding meat of the fruit untouched.

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Posted by Sharon (Calvert City, KY - Zone 7a) on Nov 16, 2011 1:24 AM

In older times, as the dogwood began to bloom in spring, it signaled to the Native Americans that it was time to plant corn. They used the dogwood tree medicinally too. The bark was simmered in water and the extract was used to relieve sore and aching muscles. They made a tea of the bark to promote sweating, to relieve fevers. At one time during the Civil War, when quinine was not available, tea from the dogwood tree bark was used to treat malaria.

Those are ancient beliefs and there is no reason now to believe they are true. But there is one fact that I know to be true: when the dogwoods are blooming the fish are biting in Kentucky and Barkley Lakes!

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Posted by Mindy03 (Delta KY) on Apr 1, 2012 2:35 PM

Honey bees get nectar and pollen from this plant.

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Posted by robertduval14 (Mason, New Hampshire - Zone 5b) on Apr 15, 2013 9:44 PM

North Carolina and Virginia's state flower.

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Posted by Catmint20906 (PNW WA half hour south of Olympia - Zone 8a) on Aug 3, 2014 3:23 PM

Cornus florida is a larval host plant for the Spring Azure butterfly.

According to NPIN, this plant has special value to native bees, and supports conservation biological control by attracting beneficial insects to the garden.

Birds are attracted to and feed on its fruit.

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Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Apr 30, 2020 8:56 AM

The American or Eastern Flowering Dogwood is a well-known and glorious ornamental tree that is native to southern New England, lower New York, through the southeast tip of Ontario, half of lower Michigan, Indiana into the southern half of Illinois, to eastern Oklahoma and eastern Texas to northern Florida, back up to New England, growing wild on the edges and within of upland forests. It grows about 1 to 1.5 feet/year and lives about 100 to 150 years. The tree has a wonderful horizontal, tiered, wishbone branching habit with the branchlet tips turned upward. Its bark is gray-brown and goes from being smooth when young to scaly to blocky. The opposite, simple leaves are 3 to 6 inches long by 1.5 to 2 inches wide with a pointed apex. The foliage turns a good orange-red to scarlet in the fall. The true flowers are small, greenish-yellow in compact heads in the middle, surrounded by 4 large white bracts, occasionally pink or rose, where these flowering bracts are rounded on the ends with a small notch at the end, and bloom in late April to early May before the leaves emerge. The fruits are small, bright red drupes to 1/2 inch long, in clusters, and are of high food value to birds and some mammals; not edible for humans. The root pattern is deep, coarse, lateral but the plant can be dug and moved in early spring. This is a very popular ornamental tree sold at most any nursery in or around its native range. In my native Chicago, IL, area this species often has not thrived because the soil needs to be more acid. However, I have seen some nice trees occasionally in part-shade and good quality soil recently in the region. In the 1990's a Discula canker & leaf blight fungus disease from east Asia was introduced into the eastern US and a good number of trees died or were damaged. This freaked everybody out, and the Kousa Dogwood from east Asia was planted a lot instead. Fortunately, since after the turn of the century past 2000, I still see a large number of Eastern Flowering Dogwoods doing well in southeast Pennsylvania in landscapes and some wild in the woods.
(I don't like the Kousa Dogwood because of its huge, red aggregate fruits that nothing really eats, except for Yellowjackets feeding on messy, rotting fruit on the ground. The Asian species has a stiff branching habit that is not as nice. It has pretty mottled bark and its sharp-pointed flowers bloom in late May into June.)

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Discussion Threads about this plant
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