Florida Forestry Information
The Dogwood Family
The dogwood family comprises about 10 genera with 100 species of trees, shrubs, and herbs.  Only species of the genera Cornus and Garrya are found in the United States.  The only species of this family which grows in Florida and reaches arborescent size is the flowering dogwood. 
 Click on the links below an introduction to a tree of this family:
flowering dogwood
Cornaceae Family
Trees of Florida Menu
Cornus florida 
flowering dogwood 

The flowering dogwood is a small, bushy tree, reaching 15-30 feet in height and 6-18 inches in diameter.  Several large, wide-spreading branches form a low, dense, rounded crown. 

Leaves are simple, opposite, and deciduous.  The leaves are 1.5-2 inches wide and are oval in shape, with an acute or slender apex.  The leaf base is wedge-shaped.  Leaf margins are often irregular and entire or remotely scalloped.  The veins of the leaves are characteristically arcuate (curved upward toward the apex of the leaf).  The leaf surfaces are light green and somewhat pubescent on top, and whitish and pubescent below.  Leaf petioles are stout and grooved, up to 3/4 inch long. 
The flowers of the flowering dogwood are perfect, occurring in dense heads (2-4 inches in diameter), which are surrounded by 4 large, white, petal-like bracts. 
Fruit is a bright red drupe, about 1/2 inch long and 1/4 inch in diameter.  These drupes occur in clusters of 2 to several, ripening in the fall.  The pit is 2-celled and grooved, encasing oblong seeds. 

The twigs are slender, red or yellowish-green to purple and somewhat pubescent at first, becoming glabrous and brown or gray-brown.  The pith is  homogeneous. 

The bark is up to 3/8 inch thick, dark brown or nearly black, breaking into many polygonal, scaly blocks. 


The flowering dogwood occurs on moist, rich, deep soils near streams and on slopes, usually growing in the shade of other hardwoods.  It is also found on open slopes and ridges.  It is found from southern Maine west through New York; west to southeastern Kansas; south to central Florida and to eastern Texas.  It is occasionally found in northern Mexico. 

This tree is of limited value as a source of wood for small articles such as spindles, shuttles, hubs and handles.  It is highly valued as an ornamental.  In colonial times a brew made from the bark was used in the treatment of fever. 

Click on the link below to see more information on and/or images of this tree (use the "Back" function to return here):
Query the USDA Plant Database
Cornaceae Menu
Trees of Florida Menu