Landowner Fact Sheets

flowering dogwood Cornus florida play

Flowering dogwood is one of the most well-known and cherished of small flowering trees. It is common in the woods; perhaps more common in suburban yards. All parts of flowering dogwood are consumed by wildlife.

range map Click to see more images. fall color wood grain

Flowering dogwood is often removed from timber stands in the name of timber stand improvement. It can be regenerated by stump sprouts, seeds, and vegetative cuttings, with partly shady conditions best for survival.

Quite tolerant of shade, dogwood is a common understory tree especially on well drained upland soils, but it may also grow on deeper, moist soils.


A small tree with a short trunk that branches low, producing a slightly rounded to flat-topped crown. Branches are opposite, and assume a "candelabra" appearance.

Timber Value
The hard, smooth wood is used for small wooden gadgets needing to withstand rough use. Examples include spools, malletheads, small pulleys.

Wildlife Value
Seeds, fruits, flowers, twigs, bark, and leaves are all used as food by various species. The fruits, in particular, are eaten by at least 36 species of birds, and many mammals, small and large.
Attracts chipmunks, squirrels, birds, foxes, skunks, rabbits, deer, bears

Insects and Diseases

Fun Facts
Flowering dogwood is commonly planted as an ornamental. Dogwood anthracnose is currently a major concern, as it is killing dogwoods throughout the East. Flowering dogwood's red fruits, although relished by wildlife, are poisonous to humans. Powderized bark and small twigs were onced used as toothpaste.

Latin Meaning
Cornus: the Latin name for Cornus mas from "cornu" (hard - for the wood) / florida: flowering Latin "flos" (flower)

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Landowner Factsheets © 2004 Virginia Tech Forestry Department, all rights reserved. Text, images, and programming by: Dr. Jeff Kirwan, Dr. John R. Seiler, John A. Peterson, Edward C. Jensen, Guy Phillips, or Andrew S. Meeks.