Cornus florida

Inflorescence Blossom Dogwood (Cornus florida )

The Blossom Dogwood (Cornus florida ), also known as American Dogwood is a shrub or small tree from the kind of dogwood. It is native to eastern North America and is sometimes used in Central Europe for its showy inflorescences as an ornamental plant.

The botanical name of florida is not related to the U.S. state of Florida, but to the large bracts.


The Blossom Dogwood grows in its natural range as a small tree that can grow up to twelve feet high, in the understory or on the edge of forests. On the northern edge of its range and usually also in culture, he remains small and growing shrub-like. The crown is spread to roundish, often the side branches grow almost horizontally, reaching out from the trunk.

The intensive root system remains flat below the soil surface, it is susceptible to compaction, flooding and mechanical injury. Permeable, humus-rich soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH are preferred. Spurs are formed.

The leaves are about seven to twelve inches long and as with many other dogwoods also shaped: oval, entire and next to the midrib with 5-6 forward curved lateral veins. In the bud they are yellowish green, colored dull green in the summer, the autumn color is bright orange-red to purple. The fallen leaves decompose extremely rapidly. The leaves sit alternately along the branches, they must first be greenish with reddish coloration on the sunny side, older branches are gray, thicker trunks on a cracked bark developed. The winter buds can differ significantly in leaf and inflorescence buds, the latter are broad bulbous.

In the spring, a little before the leaves emerge or simultaneously with this, the flowers unfold. About twenty have united for the small spherical umbels, each umbel is surrounded by four white, rarely pink colored bracts. The bracts are already recognized by the bud in winter, about five to ten centimeters long and indented at the top. Often the bracts hang long with the tips together firmly when they unfold.

The flowers develop until autumn oblong red berries. In contrast to the Asian Blossom dogwoods, the individual fruits of the inflorescence grown not a fruit dressing. They contain a core, which germinates in the following spring, often only after two winters. The fruits are eaten by many birds and mammals, which thus provide for the dissemination ( Zoochorie ). Some sources say that the fruits are poisonous to humans, others call them edible.


The species is native to eastern North America, from the extreme southern Canada to northern Florida, from the Atlantic coast to eastern Texas and Oklahoma. The variety urbiniana is known from eastern Mexico. The Blossom Dogwood avoids this dry and waterlogged sites, it grows in the understory or on the edge of deciduous forests and pine forests.

The fungus Discula destructiva detected since 1976 in North America, causing the so-called leaf blight ( anthracnose ), which leads to the death of the plant, the species has been significantly depleted in their area of ​​distribution. Damp locations, are particularly affected.


Within the natural range of flower dogwood is used for natural plantings and hedges and is a popular ornamental tree; he is " state flower " of the U.S. states of Virginia and Missouri. Because of the dense, wide sweeping root system it inhibits the erosion of soils.

Because of the showy bracts and red autumn colors of the flowers Dogwood is cultivated as an ornamental shrub. He places high demands on the soil, requires a steady water supply and a high humidity. Even under good conditions it grows quite slowly, with an annual growth of ten to 15 centimeters. Therefore, he is best suited as a specimen shrub in particularly well-kept sites. Though he endures shadow, a temporary sunniest location is more favorable for a rich bloom. At full sun a good soil and humidity is important.

There are numerous varieties, especially with particularly large or pink colored bracts. Rarely, hanging forms, varieties are encountered with variegated leaves or yellow fruits. Some varieties have more than four bracts.

  • ' Cherokee Chief ' - Intensive pink colored bracts
  • 'Cloud Nine' - Large white bracts
  • ' Rubra ' - under this name different types with more or less intense pink colored bracts commercially
  • ' Eddie's White Wonder ' - A hybrid between Cornus florida and the Pacific Dogwood blossoms, C. nuttallii

The horticultural propagation can be done by seeds that germinate well after three months Kaltstratifizieren. Varieties must be propagated by cuttings or grafting, thus faster Plants ready for sale can be achieved.