How to Identify a Dogwood Tree Seed


Dogwoods, or the cornus family of trees, are flowering and/or fruiting deciduous trees that produce drupes or berry-like fruits every August. The drupe fruits contain one or two dogwood seeds inside a hard case. Depending on the species of dogwood, the seed stone takes on a different shape and texture, though the color is consistent. The drupes are a desired food source for birds, squirrels and tree mammals.

Step 1

Recognize dogwood drupes, or fruit that contain dogwood seeds, by their blue-black hue and short, slim red stems. They ripen and drop from August through November. Dogwood seeds carried inside the fruit are honey brown in color.

Step 2

Identify cornus florida and cornus nuttallii dogwood seeds by their ovoid, tapered, football-shaped stones that measure 3 to 6 millimeters in length and width. They can contain one seed or be divided inside to cradle two seeds but no more than two. The outside of the seed is relatively smooth like the shell of a pistachio. Cornus florida seed has a visible seam running lengthwise along the axial circumference of the stone.

Step 3

Distinguish cornus alternifolia, cornus amomum, cornus drummondii, cornus Xcalifornica and cornus racemosa dogwood seeds by their rounded shape and uneven, crenelated stone surface. They can can range from 2 to 6 millimeters in size with the width and height roughly the same. There is no distinctive seaming on these dogwood seeds but they do have a slightly pronounced peak or beak on one end of the stone.

Things You'll Need

  • Magnifying glass


  • USDA Plant Database Profile
  • Washington University
Keywords: dogwood spring flowering tree, dogwood cornus seeds, identify recognize seed

About this Author

An omni-curious communications professional, Dena Kane has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals, as well as film and broadcast media. Kane studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.