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Saturday, June 8, 2013

Cornus capitata - Evergreen Dogwood

The very first evergreen dogwood I encountered was the amazing specimen at Suncrest nursery. Totally blown away. Its covered with slightly off white flowers in June and followed by large red fruit in fall. I have to admit I was spoiled by flowering and kousa dogwoods when living in the pacific northwest and didn't think this tree could compete. Well, it exceeds the flowering dogwood for sure, and in my mind is equal to kousa.

The plants start our fairly narrow but widen with age (sounds familiar), eventually forming a nice oval to rounded canopy. Growing to about 20-25' in our area. Most are multi-stemmed with the main laterals starting pretty low on the tree. Canopy is generally quite dense.

Leaves are opposite, simple, 2-4" long, narrowly elliptical and entire margins. The margins on many plants are curled upward making the leaves look narrower than they really are. Veins on dogwoods are pinnate but they look as though they curve to the tips of the leaves. They have a leathery look and feel.

Stems are thin, generally green but can be red on the top of the branch.

Bark is smooth for years, eventually developing some fissures.

Flowers are typical for dogwoods. Again, the showy bits are bracts. They are white to yellowish white in color, four in number with pointed ends. They look more like C. kousa than C. florida. (In fact the whole tree looks more like the Kousa dogwood than any other dogwood.)

Flowers move from white to pink or red, really like this one later in the blooming season with the change in colors.

The real flowers are small, light green in rounded clusters within the bracts. The bracts are usually mistaken for petals.

The fruit is a large fleshy berry. They look like a strawberry (hence one of the common names Himalayan Strawberry Tree)

Misidentification: Other dogwoods most likely. Especially in bloom but not in the winter.  Leaves are narrower than C. florida.

Corner of Clubhouse Dr. and Murry Ave.

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