Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)

The flowering dogwood has big, white, 4-petaled flowers that have beaded looking yellow centers. These flowers appear before the leaves and will then sit flatly on top of leaves once they emerge. The leaves are dark green and oval-shaped and will turn bright red or even red-purple in the fall. The red fruit that this tree produces is bitter and poisonous to humans, but loved by birds. This tree also attracts butterflies and small mammals.

Family: Cornaceae (Dogwood)

Characteristics: The 3-inch to 6-inch-long leaves are oval-shaped and dark green. In the fall, leaves turn red to red-purple. The tree's white flowers bloom in April or May, usually before the leaves appear. Flowers have 4 large petals that are arranged around a yellow, beaded-looking center. This tree produces red berries that ripen in late September to October. Old branches develop an alligator hide appearance. Bark is gray-brown, blocky, and sheds, revealing the tree's dark inner bark. This tree is low-branching with a rounded to flat-topped crown and defined horizontal or tiered branching. It usually grows 20 feet high and wide, though can reach up to 30-40 feet.

Foliage: Deciduous (leaves lost seasonally)

Geographic Origin: Eastern North America (native)

Cultivation Notes: Requires medium maintenance. Does best in part shade, though can also tolerate full sun. Prefers moist, and well-drained soils. This tree is very reliant on acidic soil, and is sensitive to adverse soil and environmental conditions, such as road salts and pollution. It is recommended to surround this tree with 2-4 inches of mulch, in order to keep roots cool and moist in the summer.

Number on Campus: 45

Sources: Dirr, Morton Arboretum, Missouri Botanical Garden