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Cornus florida

Cornus florida L.

Cynoxylon floridum (L.) Raf. ex B.D. Jacks.

Flowering Dogwood

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae (from Stearn’s Botanical Latin)
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassAsteridaeA large class that encompasses asters
OrderCornalesIncludes dogwoods, hydrangeas, stickleafs, tupelos, even sillyberries
FamilyCornaceaeDogwood family
GenusCornusLatin for “a horn”
SpeciesfloridaEither (1) free flowering, producing abundant flowers; or (2) bright

About plant names...

Flowering dogwoods are common North American native plants in the wild, also popular in cultivated plantings.

Identification: Flowering dogwood is somewhere between a large bush, at a typical 15' (4.6 m) in height, and a small tree, at up to 30' (9.1 m). It has a single trunk and rounded crown typical of a tree. The trunk bark separates into square blocks or scales about 1" (2.5 cm) across as the tree ages. Leaves are opposite, 4-8" (10-20 cm) long and half as wide, with smooth edges and prominent veins, turning red to deep reddish purple in the fall. Flowers are white, and up to 4" (10 cm) across. Okay, I lied: in fact, the flowers are green (!), a small inconspicuous disc in the center of what appears to be the flower. The familiar white petals are actually bracts—modified leaves. Fruits are bright red, oval, ¼-½" (6.3-12 mm) long, in small tight clusters.

Edibility: Poisonous Skull & Crossbones Though favored by many types of wildlife, the bright red berries are poisonous to people.

Online References:

Cornus florida on Carolina Nature, from Will Cook

Cornus florida on FLORIDATA

Cornus florida on Erv Evans' site at the North Carolina State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Cornus florida at the USDA Forest Service's Silvics of North America site

Cornus florida at the University of Florida Environmental Horticulture site

References:

Sibley, David Allen, The Sibley Guide to Trees, Alfred A. Knopf, 2009, p. 356

Petrides, George A., Peterson Field Guides: Trees and Shrubs, Houghton Mifflin Co., 1972, p. 76, 106

Little, Elbert L., National Audabon Society Field Guide to North American Trees, Eastern Region, Alfred A. Knopf, 1980, p. 76, 615

Dirr, Michael A., Dirr’s Hardy Trees and Shrubs, Timber Press, 1997, p. 104

Symonds, George W.D., Shrub Identification Book, HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 1963, p. 98

Symonds, George W. D.; photos by Chelminski, Stephen V., The Tree Identification Book, Harper, 2003, p. 112

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

1/1/2012 · Big Tree Trail • Tudor Richards Natural History and Forest Trail, Hollis, NH

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

5/22/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA
≈ 10 × 15" (26 × 39 cm) ID is uncertain

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

7/12/2013 · Wooden Bridge, East Pepperell, MA
≈ 8 × 6" (20 × 14 cm) ID is uncertain

Cornus florida description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 16 Aug 2013.

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Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

7/6/2013 · Mike and Ellen’s, Shohola, PA
≈ 11 × 7" (28 × 18 cm) ID is uncertain

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

7/12/2013 · Wooden Bridge, East Pepperell, MA
≈ 11 × 7" (28 × 18 cm) ID is uncertain

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

5/31/2010 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 21 × 31" (52 × 78 cm) ID is uncertain

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

7/12/2013 · Wooden Bridge, East Pepperell, MA
≈ 9 × 6" (23 × 16 cm) ID is uncertain

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

4/4/2011 · Oregon Ridge State Park, Timonium, MD
≈ 6 × 9" (15 × 23 cm) ID is uncertain

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

9/14/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA
≈ 3½ × 2½' (1.2 × 0.8 m) ID is uncertain

Range: Zones 5-9a:

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