Cornus florida

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Flowering Dogwood


Plant Specifics

Size:25-30 ft tall by 15-25 ft wide
Life Span:Long-lived perennial
Flower Color:White
Fruit Color:Red
Phenology:Deciduous. Blooms in spring. Fruits ripen in fall. Life span potentially up to 125 yrs but usually much shorter in cultivation (Nelson 2003).
Noted for:Fall color, Showy flowers, Showy fruits, Hurricane wind resistance


Recommended Uses:Specimen tree. It is known for its showy white "flowers" in the spring. What appears to be the flower petals are actually large bracts. The true flowers occur in a group in the center of the bracts. They are small and yellow-green.
Considerations:Very sensitive to appropriate soils. Does poorly in neutral or alkaline soils. Dogwoods do not tolerate heavy foot traffic or extra soil piled around their root areas.
Availability:Big box stores, Native nurseries, FNPS plant sales, Quality nurseries
Light: Part Shade
Moisture Tolerance:
always floodedextremely dry
 (Somewhat moist, no flooding ----- to ----- Short very dry periods)
Moisture Tolerance: Somewhat moist, no flooding ----- to ----- Short very dry periods
Salt Water Flooding Tolerance:Not salt tolerant of inundation by salty or brackish water.
Salt Spray/ Salty Soil Tolerance:Low/no tolerance of salty wind or direct salt spray
Soil or other substrate:Loam, Sand
Soil pH:Acidic



 Birds and small mammals consume the fruit


Attracts long-tongued bees, short-tongued bees, wasps, flies, and butterflies. 

Larval host for cecropia silkmoth (Hyalophora cecropia) and spring azure butterfly (Celastrina ladon).  

Native Habitats:Mesic hardwood forests, pine-oak-hickory woods, mesic longleaf pinelands.

Distribution and Planting Zones

Natural Range in Florida
USDA Zones

Suitable to grow in:
8A 8B 9A 9B 

USDA zones are based on minimum winter temperatures


Ethnobotany:The bright red fruits are poisonous to humans but have been used as dyes. The wood is hard and has been values by artisans.
General Comments:This species may not survive well near the southern end of its range especially if grown in full sun and droughty conditions. And even if it does survive, it does not have the impact that it does in the north, where the flowers stand out in the landscape before any leaves emerge in the spring.