Eastern Flowering
Dogwood

Cornus Florida

Location in Ontario:  Eastern Flowering Dogwood is a Carolinian Tree that grows in small pockets throughout the Carolinian Zone. It is a small, understorey tree that prefers acidic sandy soil. 

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.

COSEWIC: Eastern Flowering Dogwood


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. Trees are victim to Dogwood anthracnose, an Asian Fungus (see tree diseases).

In the Landscape: Eastern Flowering Dogwood is a small tree that may reach 12 metres and can live to be over 100 years. It makes a lovely landscape tree, with its beautiful large white flowers, red fruit and red leaves in the fall.

Leaves
The opposite leaves are simple with smooth edges. Veins are curved upward near the leaf margin toward the tip. Leaves turn deep red in the fall.
Bark
The bark is reddish brown and broken into squares.
Flowers
Eastern Flowering Dogwood is monoecious with perfect flowers. Flower buds are set in the summer for flowers early in the next spring. The flowers are small and greenish-yellow, in a group, and surrounded by four large white bracts.
Fruit
Bright red plum-shaped 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      Mature Fruit  
 
Summer buds for the following spring Tiny flowers inside emerging bracts  
 

Here is an excellent video showing the leaves, flowers and fruit of the Eastern Flowering Dogwood.

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.


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

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

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 

Link to United States Forest Service Silvics Manual for Eastern Flowering Dogwood

~~~~~