and Deciduous Forest Trees

of Southern Ontario

Eastern Flowering
Cornus Florida

Location in Ontario:  Eastern Flowering Dogwood is a Carolinian Tree that grows in small pockets throughout the Carolinian Zone.

COSEWIC (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada) Status: Eastern Flowering Dogwood has been identified as an endangered species due to a fungus called "anthracnose" and loss of habitat. Eastern Flowering Dogwood is a small understorey tree that was removed without much thought when forests were cleared for agriculture, leading to low numbers. .

Three in a row, St. Williams Nursery and Ecology Centre, Norfolk County

Genus Cornus: Leaves are simple and opposite. Veins curve near the leaf edge toward the tip. Trees are monoecious with perfect flowers. Flowers can be showy, or tiny and surrounded by petal-like bracts. The fruit is a drupe with one or two seeds. The wood is very hard. The only Cornus species of tree size in Ontario is Eastern Flowering Dogwood.

Habitat: This is a small, understorey tree that prefers acidic sandy soil. 

Landscape Use: This small tree makes a nice landscape tree, with its beautiful large white flowers, red fruit and red leaves in the fall.

Dogwood anthracnose is an Asian fungus that was confirmed in Ontario in 1998. It starts on the leaves in moist condition, then causes dieback and eventually tree death. The disease can be somewhat controlled by cutting back damaged branches and using a fungicide.
Here is a link for more information:
Dogwood Anthracnose

Autumn colours, Norfolk County

Leaves: The opposite leaves are simple with smooth edges. Veins are curved upward near the leaf margin toward the tip.

Simple leaves with a distinct veins


Autumn leaves with fruit

TREE FACT: The decomposing leaves of Eastern Flowering Dogwood help to improve soil. Leaves decompose more rapidly than most other species, and contain many minerals, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, fluorine plus others.

Size: This small tree may reach 12 metres and can live to be over 100 years.

Pretty pair; Eastern Flowering Dogwood and Redbud, St. Williams Nursery and Ecology Centre, Norfolk County

Bark: The bark is reddish brown and broken into squares.

TREE FACT: Chewing a twig from an Eastern Flowering Dogwood helps to clean and whiten teeth.

A very large specimen, St. Williams Nursery and Ecology Centre

Flowers: Eastern Flowering Dogwood is monoecious with perfect flowers. The flowers, which appear in early spring.

Tree Fact: The four large, white petals of Eastern Flowering Dogwood are actually white bracts. The flowers are small and greenish-yellow.

Fruit: Bright red plum-shaped fruit called "drupes" are bitter and poisonous to humans. Drupes ripen in October. Good seed crops occur every other year after 6 years of growth.

Green fruit 

Flowers inside
emerging bracts

 Fall buds

Mature fruit

Wood: The wood is hard, heavy and strong.
Specific gravity: 0.73
Janka Hardness: 2150 lb
Wood Comparison Chart

Tree Fact: Eastern Flowering Dogwood is one of the hardest of Ontario trees. It has the highest Janka rating, and second highest specific gravity.

Large roadside specimen, Norfolk County