Dogwood

The Flowering Dogwood, Cornus florida, is one of our most well-known and well-loved trees.

It is a deciduous small understory tree of the eastern North American woodlands.

Worldwide there are many species, often distinguished by their blossoms, berries, and distinctive bark. In the arboretum we have many white flowering dogwoods, and some with pink blossoms. On the north loop, No. 28 is the designated tree of the arboretum. The small yellow flowers are surrounded by four large, very showy petal-like bracts. The glossy red drupes (fruits) are enjoyed by many birds in the early fall, when the bright green leaves turn a reddish purple. Dogwoods are susceptible to fungal diseases, but efforts are underway to preserve these wonderful trees.

Close by is a fine Cornelian Cherry Dogwood, Cornus mas, No. 27. It is a native of southern Europe and flowers very early, usually in early March. The common name refers to the cherry-like red fruits that resemble the semi-precious stone, cornelian, which ripen in late summer. The fruits, very high in vitamin C, have long been used both as food and medicine to fight colds and flus. Dogwood twigs were used by pioneers to brush their teeth.

At Kendal we also have many Cornus kousa, dogwoods native to Korea, Japan and eastern China. The Kousa dogwoods bloom about a month later than our native species. The fruits are red raspberry-like drupes 1 to 1 1⁄2 inches across, borne on 1” to 1- 1⁄2” stalks. They are becoming widely used in landscaping and do not appear to be invasive. Kousa dogwoods are noted for their attractive exfoliating bark forming tan and brown patterns. Dogwood No. 54 is located on the South Loop.

The red (and yellow) twig dogwoods are attractive smaller bushes for winter appeal. There is a fine grouping in the swale near Parking Lot 3.


Martin Wells and Judy Czeiner, Photographer