Flowering dogwood, known as the Cornus florida species, are deciduous trees with symmetrical canopies that reach 20 to 30 feet tall and 25 to 30 feet wide. The trees produce small greenish-yellow flowers surrounded by large white petal-like structures called bracts. There are more than two dozen cultivars of flowering dogwood, over half of which produce white bracts in various sizes and configurations, according to the Horticultural Science department at North Carolina State University. All cultivars of Cornus florida are hardy in USDA zones 5a through 9 and produce clusters of red berries called drupes in the fall.
Autumn Gold cornus produces medium-size white bracts and is prized for its bright, greenish-gold leaves in the fall. The twigs and leaf stems are a rich yellow-orange color and provide winter interest when the tree is bare.
Barton cornus produces large white bracts with overlapping petals, which is somewhat unusual for dogwoods. The tree begins producing bracts at an early age compared to other cultivars and has a pronounced resistance to the development of mildew. It is sensitive to the fungal disease spot anthracnose.
Cherokee Daybreak cornus produces single white bracts over variegated leaves that are green with a white margin in summer. In fall the leaves turn pink to dark red before they drop. The tree has a pronounced upright, rather than spreading, growth habit and is considered to be a fast-growing dogwood. It also has some resistance to fungal infections related to anthracnose.
Plena cornus is a double-blooming cultivar that produces crisp white bracts over medium green leaves. It has a pronounced resistance to the disfiguring effects of the spot anthracnose fungal disease.
Springtime cornus produces large pure white bracts and is considered to be resistant to mildew and spot anthracnose. This characteristic makes its a good species to grow in wet and cloudy climates or under shady conditions.
Welchii cornus produces single white flowers and variegated foliage. In spring and summer the leaves are a combination of white, green and watermelon pink. The foliage then turns a deep rose pink or reddish purple in the fall before dropping. The leaves of this cultivar are particularly prone to sun scald when grown in warm climates under direct sun; it grows well as as an an understory tree with filtered shade.
Cloud 9 cornus produces white, overlapping bracts. It is also known commercially as Barton's White or Abundance.This tree is a slow-growing cultivar that flowers earlier than other trees in the species. While it possesses a resistance to mildew, it can easily be infected by spot anthracnose.