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9 Different Types of Dogwood


Find out all about the beautiful Dogwood trees and the breathtaking flowers they produce. Learn to identify them by knowing about their features and how to cultivate them.

White and pink flowers blossoming on dogwood trees.

Dogwoods are beautiful trees that are native to Asia, Europe, and North America. They belong to the Cornus genus and include trees, shrubs, and sub-shrubs. They are the most common type of tree and have many different varieties and cultivars, each with their own set of distinct characteristics. It is cultivated all over the world, where the climate and growing conditions are most suited for it.

Features of Dogwood

They grow to a height of approximately 25 feet at a rate of 24 inches a year. These trees are deciduous and grow best in partial shade. Some varieties also need full shade in order to grow to their maximum. They have strong branches and are good for the winter. Some species of this tree also have red and yellow branches that can give a very colorful look to any landscape. They grow very attractive flowers and are very useful in the garden. The leaves have veins that curve inwards and are parallel to the margins. After pollinating, these trees produce a fruit known as a drupe. These fruits are edible, but not all of them are tasty. The flowers are mostly white in color and are very tiny. The foliage is very colorful too.

Cultivation of Dogwood
Growing a plant from its inception concept

Rich, moist soil is ideal for the growth of this kind of shrub. Mostly these are drought tolerant, but wet areas ensure that these plants thrive and grow to become very healthy. This is why they are mostly found near streams or other areas where there is an abundance of water. They tolerate shade very well, which is why they are mostly seen growing under huge trees. The cold weather is good for the growth of these plants. If these are being grown in the hot weather, then it is imperative that there is shade for them to grow. Otherwise, they can suffer a great deal.

They require very little maintenance and care. The only thing that needs to be taken care of is the fact that they have enough moisture to grow. They need regular cutting too, due to the fact that they form large thickets. Root sprouts should be dug out if they are showing up in unwanted areas. The old stems should be cut in the winter season in order let the new growth come out properly. These trees are prone to the same diseases as other trees, but the biggest problem is fungal pathogens. These include oseptoria leaf spot and anthracnose. This needs to be taken care of properly. In the case that it’s not, they can consume the whole plant by spreading.  Fungicide treatment might also be needed in severe cases in order to keep the plant alive.

Types of Dogwood

There are many different types and cultivars of this tree. The most popular ones are listed below and explained.

Canadian BunchberryCanadian Bunchberry; a type of Dogwood tree

This plant is a subshrub and is the fastest growing plant in the world. They fling out their pollen at a speed of 15 miles per second. It can clone itself through rhizomes and spreads across the entire garden at a very fast pace. The scientific name for this variety is Cornus Canadensis. Other common names for this variety includeCrackerberry, low cornel, Canadian dwarf cornel, and bearberry, amongst many others. This tree is native to North America, northeastern Asia, and Greenland. The USDA hardiness zones for this variety are 2 to 7. The USDA symbol for this tree is coca13.  It typically grows up to a height of 2 to 12 feet.

This perennial has pointed leaves that are greenish in color. The stems grow erect and in low patches. A few greenish flowers grow on top with 4 white or pinkish brackets. The blooms come any time from May to September. The blooms are colored white, yellow, brown, or green. This variety needs a lot of water to thrive, alongside shade or part shade, although it can tolerate sun too. The soil should be moist with a pH below 6.8. This tree acts as an amazing ground cover in damp areas. This shrub bears red berries that replace the flowers later on. These berries are tasty to some people, but to others, they just look pleasing to the eye but not tasty enough to be eaten.

Common DogwoodCommon Dogwood; a type of Dogwood tree

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The scientific name for this shrub is Cornus sanguine. Other common names for this one include Bloodtwig dogwood and European dogwood. It is native to Western Asia and Europe. The USDA hardiness zones for this tree are 4 to 7. It can grow to a height of 6 to 20 feet approximately. The subgenera for this shrub are Swida. This tree belongs to the Cornaceae family. The stems of this deciduous perennial are bright yellow. Tiny flowers can be seen on this shrub.

These come in dense clusters with showy bracts. The leaves turn to a deep red color in autumn. Blackberries can also be seen on this tree. Full sun or partial shade, both are ideal for the growth of this plant. The soil should be well-drained and moist for this tree to grow healthy. The soil can be acidic, alkaline, or neutral. This tree takes approximately 5 to 10 years for it to grow to its maximum height. It is generally pest-free but can be attacked by horse chestnut scale sometimes. It is mainly grown as an ornamental.

Cornelian CherryCornelian Cherry; a type of Dogwood tree

This tree is known to flower very early. The fruit that this tree bears can be harvested once it has ripened and fallen off to the ground. The fruit can be used for a lot of different purposes, like making liquors, jams, or sauces. The botanical name for this tree is Cornus mas. Other common names include European cornel. This tree is native to Southern Europe and southwest Asia. The USDA hardiness zones for this plant are 4 to 8. It grows to a height of 15 to 25 feet approximately.

This tree is usually planted are residential areas and parks. It can be used for hedging, massing, or as a shade tree. It can grow ideally in full sun or part shade. It needs 6 hours of light daily in order to be healthy. Alkaline soil that is moist and well-drained is ideal for the growth of this tree. It can tolerate dry areas and occasional flooding, but cannot tolerate drought well. This plant attracts a lot of birds. The leaves are ovate and are 2 to 4 inches in length and 2.5 inches wide. The flowers are usually colored yellow and the seasons best for the growth of this tree are early spring, early summer, midsummer, late summer or early fall. This plant does not have any pest problems.

Flowering DogwoodFlowering Dogwood; a type of Dogwood tree

The scientific name for this type is Cornus florida. It is native to Eastern North America. The USDA hardiness zones for this tree are 5 to 9. It typically grows up to a height of 15 to 40 feet. The subgenera for this tree are Benthamidia. This tree is characterized by a set of flowers that are white, pink, or red in color. This tree has high chances of getting dogwood anthracnose. To prevent this, the affected branches should be pruned often. This tree is the state tree of North Carolina. The leaves of this tree turn reddish-purple in fall. Partial shade is ideal for the growth of this plant, alongside moist and well-drained soil.

4 hours of direct sunlight can ensure that this plant grows to be really healthy. This tree has a medium growth rate; the height increases 13 to 24 inches every year approximately. This plant blooms in April or May and has white bracts. This tree also produces fruit that is glossy red. Birds are very attracted by this fruit. The leaves are dark green in color and are 4 to 8 inches long. There are over 100 cultivars of this variety, each with their own distinct characteristics.

Kousa DogwoodKousa Dogwood; a type of Dogwood tree

The botanical name for this shrub is Cornus kousa. Other common names include Chinese dogwood, Korean dogwood, and Japanese dogwood. It is native to Eastern Asia. The USDA hardiness zones for this variety are 5 to 8. This tree can grow up to a height of 15 to 30 feet. The subgenera for this tree are Benthamidia. This is a deciduous tree that is characterized by lots of showy flowers and fruits. It is tolerant of drought. The lower branches should be pruned off so that the trunk can receive light. This makes it change color with yellow and white spots on the bark.

This tree has a medium growth rate; its height increases by 12 to 24 inches approximately every year. Full sun and partial shade, both are ideal for the growth of this tree. Well-drained and moist soil can ensure that this plant grows to become healthy.  This tree looks beautiful throughout the year. It is resistant to diseases. The blooms are white in color after which come red berries. The bloom time is from May to June. This tree has a medium water requirement and does not need a lot of maintenance. This tree attracts a lot of wildlife. It can be used as a street tree or as a flowering tree.

Northern Swamp Dogwood

This species is known as Cornus racemose. Other names for this tree include Gray dogwood and panicled dogwood. It is native to Eastern North America and is hardy in USDA zones 4 to 8. It grows up to a height of 4 to 15 feet, and its subgenera are Swida. This tree is characterized by an orangish-brown bark that eventually fades to gray as the tree grows older. It has white flowers and white fruits. Like some other species, this species can form suckers. This tree can thrive in sunny or shady areas with wet or dry conditions. The foliage is grayish-green in color and is sharp-tipped. The flowers are creamy-white in color and have four elliptical petals that make a star-like a shape. The flowering season is May to June. The fruits come somewhere in August and September and are white in color too. Very rarely, they are pale blue. This plant has an upright growing habit and oppositely arranged leaves.

Pacific DogwoodPacific dogwood; a type of Dogwood tree

The scientific name for this tree is Cornus nuttallii. Other common names include mountain dogwood and western flowering dogwood. It is native to British Columbia and Washington. The USDA hardiness zones for this tree are 7 to 9. It typically grows to a height of 15 to 40 feet, but in some cases also reaches 75 feet. This tree can live up to 150 years old. The leaves are 3 to 5 inches long and are smooth in texture. They turn to a bright red color in autumn. The flowers are small and white. This tree bears reddish berries in abundance. It has smooth and grey bark. This tree grows best in deep well-drained soil. Pigeons and waxwings are highly attracted to the fruit this tree bears. Deer feast on the twigs. This tree has many uses. A lot of people use the wood of this tree to make bows and arrows. It is also used to make tanning agent. This tree can get fungus and other diseases that can cause the shoots to die. For this purpose, it is imperative that the fallen leaves should be cleared immediately and should be sprayed with lime and sulfur to reduce the chances of infection significantly.

Pagoda DogwoodPagoda dogwood; a type of Dogwood tree

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The botanical name for this variety is Cornus alternifolia. Other common names include alternate leaf dogwood and green osier. The USDA hardiness zones for this tree are 4 to 7, and its native area is Eastern North America. This tree can grow to a height of 15 to 25 feet tall. This is a very attractive plant that has tiered and horizontal branches. The flowers are creamy-white in color and are extremely smack in size. These flowers are very fragrant and bloom in late spring which is the blooming season for this plant. This tree also bears fruit in the form of blueberries. These fruits mature somewhere in late summer. The leaves are long and turn to a purple color in autumn. This dogwood variety attracts a lot of wildlife. The flowers attract butterflies. Moist, fertile soil along with a sunny shit is ideal for the healthy growth of this plant, although some shade is needed in the afternoon. It is best that the soil is well-drained and acidic. Growing this tree is not a very hard task. It also requires very less care, once cultivated.

Red Osier DogwoodRed Osier dogwood; a type of Dogwood tree

This tree is native to North America and has many names. A few of them are red twig dogwood, western dogwood, and poison dogwood. The botanical name for this tree is Cornus sericea. Its USDA hardiness zones are 2 to 7.  It typically grows to a height of 6 to 12 feet. It is characterized by a cluster of small white flowers and oval leaves. It is most commonly found in wet areas and is thus tolerant of floods. It grows best in full sun. It can also grow in the shade but will have a slow growth rate and will bear fewer fruits.

These trees are very popular and are found in many different landscapes. With a variety of uses, these trees are a popular choice for many.

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