The Cornus florida tree (Flowering Dogwood) provides year round attraction to the garden. It looks great when in bloom in the spring, when the leaves turn a long-lasting reddish purple early in the autumn, and even has attractive red fruits.
Cornus-florida photographed at teh New Yor Botanical Gardens by Ryan Somma, Creative Commons.
In addition to the above traits the tree also has attractive branches and bark, which can be dark grey, black or brown bark. This grows in square blocks that give it an appearance similar to alligator skin.
Cornus florida makes a great plant to grow in the garden as it looks great either in small groupings (especially close to the edge of a wood) or as a stand alone specimen tree for the lawn or patio.
As it is quite small and can grow in partial shade it also performs well when used in the understory of other taller trees.
Dogwood in Early Autumn photograph by Susan E Adams, CC.
As flowering Dogwood is a rich source of nectar it is ideal to grow if you want to attract butterflies, bees, Squirrels, and Songbirds to the garden. Some of the birds that feed on the fruit of this tree include Robins, Thrushes, Red-eyed Vireo, Northern Cardinal, and the Veery.
Flowering Dogwood in Bloom by Bernard Spragg. NZ, CC.
The tree is fairly deer resistance, Grade C — White-tailed deer will eat the leaves when they are hungry.
The plant is a native of the Eastern and Central parts of the USA, and is often seen growing naturally in the understories and edges of forests and woodland.
Flowering Dogwood leaves in autumn photograph by Katja Schulz, CC.
As an ever present and beloved garden tree it is no surprise that there are a multitude of cultivars available, these have been developed for their ability to grow in different regions, their size, and for ornamental features.
'Cherokee Princess' Early Bloomer, Large flowers, Heavy Boomer.
'Plena' Double flowers, white.
'Pendula' Weeping branches.
'Cloud 9' Overlapping bracts, Slow growing and Hardy
'Welchii' Cream, green, and Pink variegated leaves. Grow in partial shade for best results.
'Welchii' Yellow fruits
'Cherokee Daybreak White leaf margins. Leaves turn pink in the autumn.
Cherokee Brave Deep pink flowers with a white center.
'Cherokee Chief' Deep red flowers; new growth is red.
'Cherokee Sunset' Variegated leaves, pink or yellow markings.
Cornus florida Rubra This is a common variety that has pink through red flowers.