Flowering dogwood

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Cornus florida

E. North America

Location: map coordinates S-16 (southeast side of Conrad Hall),
N 39°11'7'' W 75°32'40''

Planting history: presently unknown.
  • small- to medium-sized deciduous tree
  • etymology: Cornus = Latin for horn (which is hard; referring to the wood); florida = flowering
  • the common name “dogwood” may be derived from “dagwood”, because the very hard wood was used to make daggers
  • leaves opposite (as in most dogwoods); turn a rich red color in autumn; leaf veins arcuate (curve towards the tip, parallel to the leaf edges)
  • flowers small, in a cluster surrounded by 4 large white bracts that are commonly mistaken for the petals; bloom early, before leaves emerge
  • flower buds oval, with valvate scales (2 bud scales meeting in center)
  • fruits red drupes (stone fruits), in clusters; food for birds and other wildlife
  • bark checkered (small squares)
  • natural habitat is forest understory; shade-tolerant
  • susceptible to dogwood anthracnose (a fungal disease)
  • wood very hard (hence the genus name Cornus [horn], and common name dogwood [dagwood] – see above). Wood also used to make tool handles, golf club heads, bobbins, wheel hubs

Native species, State Rank S5 (very common in Delaware)

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