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Home > Resources > North Carolina Trees > Flowering Dogwood

Flowering Dogwood

(Cornusflorida L)

  Flowering dogwood is named and admired for the white drifts of flowers it adds to the woodlands in early spring. It grows throughout the state, usually under the larger forest trees. Dogwood has the distinction of being the state flower. It is a small tree, usually 10 to 20 feet tall and 4 to 6 inches in diameter. Occasionally it will reach 40 feet in height, with a trunk diameter of 12 to 18 inches.

What most people think of as the "flowers" of dogwood actually are four 4 large, white (sometimes pink,) petal-like bracts that are notched at the end. The true flower is an inconspicuous, greenish white or yellowish, compact head in the center of the showy bracts. The bright red, oval fruit (a drupe) is borne in tight clusters. It ripens in October.

The leaves are opposite and 3 to 5 inches long. The veins curve like a bow and tend to parallel the margin of the leaves. The bark of flowering dogwood is dark red-brown, dividing into small scaly blocks on older trees.

The brown to red wood is hard, heavy, strong and very close grained. It is used for textile shuttles and spools and for handles and mallets.
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