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Monday, April 23, 2012

Cornus florida - Flowering Dogwood

The flowering dogwood trees are outstanding small trees for residential landscapes. Multi-seasonal tree if there ever was one. Layered horizontally tiered branches with great flowers and fall color. May not color up here in fall as well as other locations but its still a beautiful shape and the flowers are always nice.

Deciduous tree, slow grower for the most part to 20' and about as wide with a spreading flatted tiered habit, almost looking layered sometimes.

Leaves are opposite, simple, broadly elliptical to ovate to almost round, 2-4" long, Lower surface has a glaucous bloom. Dogwood veins are pinnate, but they look like they curve towards the tip of the leaf. Leaves look like dog ears, hanging down near the ends of the branches. 

This is one of many variegated cultivars, 'Cherokee Sunset' that shows off the dog ears better, assuming you don't have a german shepherd.

Flowers are really a mixture of small flowers and showy bracts. Plants bloom prior to leaf emergence. The bracts are usually white but many cultivars are pink to red. The bracts are usually rounded or slightly emarginate at the tip. Four "petals" and not 6 like the native dogwood. Stems are slightly hairy, sometimes with a bloom, eventually glabrous. Red or green color. Flower buds are very distinct. They look like flattened biscuits. You can see them in the picture with the fruit.

Fruit is a red drupe, not really showy but interesting. Many cultivars don't seem to produce many fruit.

Bark is very nice, alligator like bits and very attractive as well.

Fall color is spectacular, really. Reds are intense.

Too many cultivars to even discuss one but they come in different flower colors, red or whites and the foliage may have variegated white or yellow leaves. Hybrid exists with C. nutallii called 'Eddies Wonder'.

Misidentification: Other dogwoods most likely. Cornus kousa blooms after the foliage appears, C. capitata leaves are more narrow, almost elliptical and is evergreen.

9053 Soquel Drive.  White and Red cultivars, The red one is close to the building.

Boulder Creek
Hiway 9

the 200 block of Lakeview Drive is a very nice one.

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