Common Names in English:
Dogwood, Flowering Dogwood
, rarely rhizomatous
herbs, mostly deciduous, sometimes evergreen
[dioecious in African species]. Old branches terete
white or brown, lenticels
and leaf scars
; young branches rounded
or slightly 4-ridged; nodes slightly swollen. Leaves opposite, rarely alternate or whorled
, estipulate, petiolate
, rarely sessile; leaf blade
, entire, pinnately veined, rarely parallel veined, often pubescent
, sometimes papillate
often 2-armed, arms equal or unequal, appressed
and T-shaped, or raised and V- or Y-shaped, or pseudofiliform. Inflorescences cymose
, or capitulate, terminal
, rarely lateral
; bracts minute, not petaloid
, early caducous
, or 4(â€“6) and usually showy. Flowers 4-merous. Calyx tubular
, fused to ovary, minutely 4-dentate or truncate
. Petals 4, free
, creamy white or yellow, rarely dark reddish purple or partially dark reddish purple, valvate
. Stamens 4, surrounding a fleshy
disk, alternate petals. Anthers
. Ovary inferior; carpels 2, rarely 3 or 4; locules 2, rarely 3 or 4; ovules pendulous, 1 per locule; style 1, columnar
; stigma capitate, disciform
, or truncate, sometimes slightly 2-lobed. Fruit a drupaceous
berry, white, blue, red, or black, berries
or fused into a fleshy syncarpous compound fruit
of fruit bony, 1- or 2(â€“4) -chambered, seeds 1 or 2(â€“4) ; endosperm oily; cotyledons 2, leaflike.
One genus and ca. 55 species: widespread in N temperate regions , extending to tropical and boreal areas, one species in tropical Africa and one or two species in South America; 25 species (14 endemic) in China.
The family is treated here in the strict sense, excluding Alangium (Alangiaceae), Aucuba (Aucubaceae), Davidia (Davidiaceae), Helwingia (Helwingiaceae), Mastixia (Mastixiaceae), Nyssa (Nyssaceae), and Toricellia (Toricelliaceae), all of which have sometimes been placed in the Cornaceae. The Cornaceae in the FRPS included Mastixia, Cornus sensu lato, Aucuba, Helwingia, and Toricellia. Given that the latter three genera are allied with higher asterids in broad phylogenetic analyses, they are, therefore, removed from the Cornaceae in this treatment. These genera are recognized in the present volume as three families following Takhtajan (Sist. Magnoliofit. 1987) . Based on molecular data, Mastixia is a close relative, but not the sister of, Cornus. Its relationships to Cornus and close relatives remain unclear. Thus, we also treat Mastixia as a family separate from Cornaceae. Although molecular data have suggested that Alangium is a member of Cornaceae, the genus will be treated as a separate family in a different volume of the Flora of China. This treatment of Cornaceae therefore includes only Cornus sensu lato.
The circumscription of the Cornaceae and the relationships among the 17 genera often placed within it have been controversial. The family has been defined as consisting of a single genus, Cornus, or up to as many as 15 genera by various authors (e.g. , Harms, Ber. Deutsch. Bot. Ges. 15: 19â€“29. 1898; Takhtajan, Sist. Magnoliofit. 1987; Cronquist, Integr. Syst. Classif. Fl. Pl. 1988; Angiosperm Phylogeny Group, Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 85: 531â€“553. 1998; see also Xiang et al. , Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 80: 723â€“734. 1993; Xiang & Soltis in Boufford & Ohba, Sino-Jap. Fl. Charact. Diversif. 123. 1998) . Recent phylogenetic analyses of the chloroplast gene rbcL sequences (Xiang et al., loc. cit. 1993; Xiang & Soltis, loc. cit. 1998; Xiang, Harvard Pap. Bot. 4: 527â€“542. 1999) suggested that nine genera (Aralidium, Aucuba, Corokia, Garrya, Griselinia, Helwingia, Kaliphora, Melanophylla, and Toricellia) were not closely related to Cornaceae. Evidence from other studies, including pollen morphology and wood anatomy (Li & Chao, Quart. J. Taiwan Mus. 7: 119â€“136. 1954; Ferguson & Hideux, Proc. IV Int. Palynol. Conf., Lucknow 1: 240. 1980; Noshiro & Baas, IAWA J. 19: 43â€“97. 1998; see also Eyde, Bot. Rev. 54: 233â€“351. 1988), support the removal of these genera from Cornaceae. Various phylogenetic analyses of the rbcL and other chloroplast gene sequences identified a strongly supported monophyletic Cornales consisting of Alangium, Camptotheca, Cornus, Curtisia, Davidia, Diplopanax, Hydrangeaceae, Hydrostachyaceae, Grubbiaceae, Loasaceae, Mastixia, and Nyssa (Chase et al., Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 80: 528â€“580. 1993; Xiang & Soltis, loc. cit. 1998; Xiang, loc. cit. 1999; Olmstead et al., Molec. Phylogen. Evol. 16: 96â€“112. 2000; Savolainen et al., Kew Bull . 55: 257â€“309. 2000; Savolainen et al., Syst. Biol. 49: 306â€“362. 2000; Soltis et al., Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 133: 381â€“461. 2000; Albach et al., Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 88: 163â€“210. 2001; Albach et al., Taxon 50: 781â€“805. 2001) . Phylogenetic analyses of the rbcL and matK sequences for the Cornales suggested a Cornaceae consisting of Alangium and Cornus, a Grubbiaceae consisting of Curtisia and Grubbia (Xiang et al., Amer. J. Bot. 85: 285â€“297. 1998; Xiang, loc. cit. 1999; Xiang et al., Molec. Phylogen. Evol. 24: 35â€“57. 2002; Fan & Xiang, Amer. J. Bot. 90: 1357â€“1372. 2003) . The Cornaceae of Eyde (loc. cit. 1988), consisting of Camptotheca, Cornus, Davidia, Diplopanax, Mastixia, and Nyssa, were not supported by molecular data.
The hard wood of several species of Cornus is used for making farming tools. The fruit of some species is used for food or as a source of industrial oil . Cornus mas Linnaeus is cultivated in China for medicinal uses. Many species are widely cultivated as ornamentals , e.g., C. alba, C. canadensis, C. controversa, C. florida Linnaeus, C. kousa, C. mas, C. nuttallii Audubon, and C. stolonifera Michaux.
, or herblike shrubs, precocious
, or serotinous. Young shoots
, rarely glabrous
curly or straight, raised or appressed
. Stem sympodial, rarely monopodial. Winter buds
, mixed or separate, covered or exposed. Petiole
adaxially; leaf blade
, elliptic, oblong
, or ovate
, glabrous to densely pubescent, lateral
, often raised abaxially. Inflorescence formed in previous or current
year; bracts covering inflorescence or not. Sepals 4, fused; teeth absent, minute, or variously triangular. Petals 4, free
, oblong to orbicular
or awn-shaped, longer
than style, longer or shorter than petals; anthers
whitish or yellow, rarely blue, red, or purplish, ellipsoid
to narrowly ellipsoid or oblong, 2-loculed. Ovary obovoid
, crowned by a disk. Fruit globose
, oblong, or ellipsoid, crowned by persistent
calyx, disk, and style; stones
globose, ovoid, ellipsoid, oblong, sometimes asymmetric
, surface smooth
, apex rarely pitted
Geographical distribution is the same as that of the family .
The classification of Cornus has long been debated. The ranks and circumscriptions of subgroups vary considerably among taxonomists. The current treatment retains Cornus in the broad sense as defined by Linnaeus and represents a synthesis of Ferguson (J. Arnold Arbor . 47: 100-105. 1966), Murrell (Syst. Bot. 18: 469-495. 1993), and Xiang (Acta Phytotax. Sin. 25: 125-131. 1987). This treatment agrees with recent molecular phylogenetic analyses of Cornus. The genus can be conveniently divided into distinct groups, all of which at one time or another have been recognized at full generic level. 
ID Features: Flower buds large and flattened. Twigs reddish purple. Alligator-like bark on large branches. Horizontal branching. White flowers comprised of 4 bracts in May.
Habit: A small deciduous tree . Shape is rounded to somewhat flat-topped. Branching is approaching horizontal. Branches low to the ground with a short trunk .
Flowers: Flowers are white. The showy part of the bloom the four white bracts. Each bract is nearly 2" long. The diameter of the bracts combined is about 4" across. Bloom time is mid-May. Bloom is effective for 2 weeks. Flowering occurs before leaf out. • Bloom Period: March. • Flower Color: near white, pink, white
Foliage: Summer foliage: Opposite, simple leaves. Oval to ovate shape . Leaves 3" to 6" long. Leaves 1.5' to 3" wide. Leaf color is medium green. • Fall foliage: Red or reddish purple. Generally quite showy. Colors early and color holds for an extended period.
Size: 15-20' tall.
Landscape Uses: Small groupings. Lawn tree . Specimen. Border . Naturalistic areas. Edge of woods . Patio tree. Has four season appeal in flowers, fruits, fall , color, bark and branching. character. • Liabilities: Flower buds can be killed or injured by cold in zone 5. Dogwood borer . Dogwood anthracnose . Powdery mildew . Crown rot and canker . Almost overused.
Culture: Prefers a cool, moist, acidic soil that contains organic matter. Full sun promotes greatest flowering but tolerates partial shade well. Not tolerant of stresses such as heat, drought , pollution , road salt. Best transplanted at a small size. Can be slow to reestablish following transplanting.
Soil: Minimum pH: 5.1 • Maximum pH: 6.0
Sunlight: Sun Exposure: Sun to Partial Shade.
Temperature: Cold Hardiness: 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b. (map)
- Whittaker & Margulis,1978
- Haeckel, 1866
- Cavalier-Smith, 1981
- Sinnott, 1935 ex Cavalier-Smith, 1998
- Vascular Plants
- Kenrick & Crane, 1997
- Brongniart, 1843
- Takhtajan, 1967
- Thorne Ex Reveal, 1996
- Order: Cornales () - Dumortier, 1829
- Superorder: Cornanae () - Thorne Ex Reveal, 1996
- Subclass: Asteridae () - Takhtajan, 1967
- Class: Spermatopsida () - Brongniart, 1843
- Infraphylum: Radiatopses () - Kenrick & Crane, 1997
- Subphylum: Euphyllophytina ()
- Phylum: Tracheophyta () - Sinnott, 1935 ex Cavalier-Smith, 1998 - Vascular Plants
- Subkingdom: Viridaeplantae () - Cavalier-Smith, 1981
- Kingdom: Plantae () - Haeckel, 1866 - Plants
An accepted name in the RHS Horticultural Database.
Members of the genus Cornus
ZipcodeZoo has pages for 185 species, subspecies, varieties, forms, and cultivars in this genus. Here are just 100 of them:
C. acadiensis (Acadia Dogwood) · C. alba 'Argenteomarginata' (Tartarian Dogwood) · C. alba 'Argenteo-marginata' (Tatarian Dogwood) · C. alba 'Aurea' (Aurea Tatarian Dogwood Cornus Alba) · C. alba 'Bailhalo' (Ivory Halo® Dogwood) · C. alba 'Bud's Yellow' (Bud's Yellow Dogwood) · C. alba 'Chief Bloodgood' (Siberian Dogwood) · C. alba 'Cream Cracker' (Cream Cracker Tatarian Dogwood Cornus Alba) · C. alba 'Creme De Mint' (Siberian Dogwood) · C. alba 'Elegantissima' (Elegantissima Tatarian Dogwood Cornus Alba) · C. alba 'Froebelii' (Siberian Dogwood) · C. alba 'Gouchaultii' (Gouchaultii Tatarian Dogwood Cornus Alba) · C. alba 'Gouchaulti' (Mottled Dogwood) · C. alba 'Hessei' (Siberian Dogwood) · C. alba 'Ivory Halo' (Ivory Halo Red Twig Dogwood) · C. alba 'Kesselringii' (Kesselringii Black Stemmed Dogwood Cornus Alba) · C. alba 'Red Gnome' (Red Barked Dogwood) · C. alba 'Siberian Pearls' (Red Barked Dogwood) · C. Alba 'Siberica' (Coral Red Dogwood) · C. alba 'Sibirica' (Red Barked Dogwood) · C. alba 'Sibirica Variegata' (Variegated Siberian Dogwood) · C. alba 'Spaethii' (Red Barked Dogwood) · C. alba 'Strawberry Daiquiri' (Siberian Dogwood) · C. alba 'Tricolor' (Red Barked Dogwood) · C. alternifolia (Alternate-Leaf Dogwood) · C. alternifolia 'Argentea' (Green Osier) · C. alternifolia 'Golden Shadows' (Green Osier) · C. amomum (Silky Dogwood) · C. amomum amomum (Silky Dogwood) · C. amomum obliqua (Pale Dogwood) · C. angustata (Chinese Evergreen Dogwood) · C. arnoldiana (Arnold Dogwood) · C. asperifolia (Southern Roughleaf Dogwood) · C. canadensis (Bunchberry) · C. canadensis f. bifoliata (Creeping Dogwood) · C. capitata (Evergreen Dogwood Cornus Capitata) · C. capitata emeiensis (Bentham´s Cornel) · C. chinensis (Chinese Dogwood) · C. controversa (Giant Dogwood) · C. controversa 'June Snow' (Giant Dogwood) · C. controversa 'Variegata' (Variegated Giant Dogwood) · C. drummondii (Northern Rough-Leaved Dogwood) · C. florida (Eastern Dogwood) · C. florida urbiniana (Eastern Flowering Dogwood) · C. florida var. rubra (Flowering Dogwood) · C. florida var.rubra 'Cherokee Brave' (Cherokee Brave Red Dogwood) · C. florida 'Alba Plena' (Dogwood) · C. florida 'Appalachian Spring' (Appalachian Spring Dogwood) · C. florida 'Cherokee Chief' (Cherokee Chief Dogwood) · C. florida 'Cherokee Daybreak' (Cherokee Daybreak Dogwood) · C. florida 'Cherokee Princess' (Cherokee Princess Dogwood) · C. florida 'Cherokee Sunset' (Cherokee Sunset Flowering Dogwood) · C. florida 'Cloud Nine' (Cloud Nine Flowering Dogwood) · C. florida 'Dixie Colonnade' (Dixie Colonnade Flowering Dogwood) · C. florida 'Eternal' (Bob Timberlake Eternal Dogwood) · C. florida 'First Lady' (First Lady Dogwood) · C. florida 'Golden Nugget' (Dogwood) · C. florida 'Jean's Appalachian Snow' (Jean's Appalachian Snow Dogwood) · C. florida 'Junior Miss' (Dogwood) · C. florida 'Karen's Appalachian Blush' (Karen's Appalachian Blush Dogwood) · C. florida 'Pendula' (Dogwood) · C. florida 'Plena' (Flowering Dogwood) · C. florida 'Pluribracteata' (Flowering Dogwood) · C. florida 'Pygmaea' (Dogwood) · C. florida 'Rainbow' (Eastern Dogwood) · C. florida 'Red Pygmy' (Dogwood) · C. florida 'Royal Red' (Dogwood) · C. florida 'Vanderwolf's Golden' (Vanderwolf's Golden Dogwood) · C. florida 'Weaver' (Eastern Dogwood) · C. florida 'Weaver's White' (Weaver's White Dogwood) · C. florida 'Welchii' (Dogwood) · C. florida 'Xanthocarpa' (Dogwood) · C. foemina (Stiff Dogwood) · C. foemina racemosa (Swamp Dogwood) · C. friedlanderi (Friedlander's Dogwood) · C. glabrata (Brown Dogwood) · C. hessei 'Garden Glow' (Garden Glow Dogwood) · C. kousa (Japanese Flowering Dogwood) · C. kousa var. chinensis (Chinese Dogwood) · C. kousa var. chinensis 'Galilean' (Chinese Dogwood) · C. kousa var. chinensis 'Milky Way Select' (Milky Way Kousa Dogwood) · C. kousa var. chinensis 'Samaritan' (Chinese Dogwood) · C. kousa 'Autumn Rose' (Kousa Dogwood) · C. kousa 'Beni Fugi' (Kousa Dogwood) · C. kousa 'Blue Shadow' (Kousa Dogwood) · C. kousa 'Bonfire' (Kousa Dogwood) · C. kousa 'Cherokee Sunset' (Cherokee Sunset Dogwood) · C. kousa 'China Girl' (Kousa Dogwood) · C. kousa 'Dwarf Pink' (Kousa Dogwood) · C. kousa 'Elizabeth Lustgarten' (Elizabeth Lustgarten Dogwood) · C. kousa 'Gold Star' (Gold Star Dogwood) · C. kousa 'Heart Throb' (Kousa Dogwood) · C. kousa 'Kristin Lipka's Variegated Weeper' (Chinese Dogwood) · C. kousa 'Limon Ripple' (Chinese Dogwood) · C. kousa 'Little Beauty' (Little Beauty Dogwood) · C. kousa 'Lustgarten Weeping' (Kousa Dogwood) · C. kousa 'Miss Satomi' (Kousa 'miss Satomi') · C. kousa 'Moonbeam' (Kousa Dogwood) · C. kousa 'National' (Kousa Dogwood) · C. kousa 'Prophet' (Kousa Dogwood)
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- Hu Wenkuang. 1990. Bothrocaryum, Swida, Cornus, Dendrobenthamia, and Chamaepericlymenum. In: Fang Wenpei & Hu Wenkuang, eds., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 56: 38108.
- Cornus esquirolii H. Léveillé (Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 13: 257. 1914) was identified as Adina racemosa (Siebold & Zuccarini) Miquel (Rubiaceae) by Lauener (Notes Roy. Bot. Gard. Edinburgh 32: 97. 1972).
- Brands, S.J. (comp.) 1989-present. The Taxonomicon. Universal Taxonomic Services, Zwaag, The Netherlands. Accessed May 1, 2012.
- Jenny Qiuyun Xiang & David E. Boufford "Cornaceae". in Flora of China Vol. 14 Page 206. Published by Science Press (Beijing) and Missouri Botanical Garden Press. Online at EFloras.org. [back]
- "Cornus". in Flora of China Vol. 14 Page 206. Published by Science Press (Beijing) and Missouri Botanical Garden Press. Online at EFloras.org. [back]