Flowering Dogwood

Cornus florida


Other Names:
Indian Arrowwood, Cornelian Tree, White Cornel, False Boxwood

The Flowering Dogwood is a native tree found throughout Virginia. People driving into Virginia see images of it on signs, because it is Virginia's state tree and flower. It is also the state flower of Missouri and the state tree of North Carolina. Many species of birds eat the bright red fruits, which mature in late summer to early fall and may persist until late in the year. Squirrels, chipmunks, and other mammals eat the fruit, but humans find it bitter and inedible. Flowering Dogwoods attract small bees and flies, as well as aphids, beetles moths, bugs, and other insects. The origin of the word "dogwood" is unknown. It could be: (1) from "dag", which means to pierce or stab (as with a dagger), because the wood was used to make skewers; (2) the berries were thought to be fit only for a dog to eat; or (3) because it was used to treat dogs with mange. Forty Flowering Dogwood saplings were sent to Japan in 1915 in exchange for the cherry trees Japan had sent in 1912 that are now the main attraction at the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC. All but one of the dogwoods died, which was symbolic of what would later happen to relations between the United States and Japan. But in 2012, the United States sent 3,000 more Flowering Dogwood saplings to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Japan's gift.

Identification Tools

Illinois Wildflowers Missouri Botanical Garden Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center


North America Virginia

Flowering Dogwood
Large Flowering Dogwood tree in bloom

Flowering Dogwood
Flowering Dogwood tree in fruit across Beverley Drive from the park entrance

Flowering Dogwood
Dogwood flowers in early May

Flowering Dogwood
Dogwood flowers

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