Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

Dogwood Tree Scientific Name Facts

...
dogwood image by rebekah gonzalez from Fotolia.com

Native to the partially shaded understory of the vast woodlands of the eastern United States, flowering dogwood attains a broad to cone-like shape about 20 to 30 feet tall and 20 to 25 feet wide. It is highly ornamental, flowering in spring and displaying purplish burgundy to pink-red fall foliage color. The white "flowers" we readily see are actually four bracts (modified leaves) that surround the cluster of tiny true flowers that are green-yellow. Grow flowering dogwood in U.S. Department of Agriculture Hardiness Zones 5 through 9.

Genus Designation

Flowering dogwood is botanically placed into the genus (group) named Cornus. It is one of about 40 other deciduous shrubs and trees in the genus, all native to temperate regions in the northern hemisphere. Logically, flowering dogwood is a member of the dogwood family, Cornaceae.

  • Native to the partially shaded understory of the vast woodlands of the eastern United States, flowering dogwood attains a broad to cone-like shape about 20 to 30 feet tall and 20 to 25 feet wide.
  • The white "flowers" we readily see are actually four bracts (modified leaves) that surround the cluster of tiny true flowers that are green-yellow.

Species

Flowering dogwood is a common name used for the species Cornus florida. While all dogwoods are flowering plants (angiosperms), they have other common names such as cornel, cornelian cherry, red osier, kousa dogwood, bloodtwig, redtwig and gray dogwood, among others. Thus, "flowering dogwood" has specific reference only to Cornus florida.

Etymology

According to Dr. Gerald Klingaman of Learn2Grow, the genus name Cornus is derived from the Latin word "cornu," which means "hard and bony projection that is shaped like a horn." "Cornus" is the word chosen and assigned to dogwood by Carl Linnaeus, the famed Swedish botanist who established the binomial system of scientific nomenclature. "Florida" means "flowering" in Latin, not referring to the American state of Florida, even though the tree is native to the northern half of the state.

Natural Forms

Within the species Cornus florida are two naturally occurring forms: florida and rubra. All plants that produce white bracts in the spring around the flowers are known as form florida (Cornus florida forma florida), while those that produce pink bracts are known as form rubra (Cornus florida forma rubra), according to the American Horticultural Society's "A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants."

  • Flowering dogwood is a common name used for the species Cornus florida.
  • According to Dr. Gerald Klingaman of Learn2Grow, the genus name Cornus is derived from the Latin word "cornu," which means "hard and bony projection that is shaped like a horn."
  • "

Cultivated Varieties

Over the last century, breeding and selection of mutations of flowering dogwood by horticulturists led to many cultivated varieties (cultivars). Each cultivar is assigned a cultivar name to distinguish it from other selections of flowering dogwood. Examples of cultivars include Cloud Nine, White Cloud, First Lady, Cherokee Chief, Hohman's Gold, Pendula, Pluribracteata, Purple Glory and Spring Song, among others. In the late 20th century, plant breeders began hybridizing flowering dogwood with Japanese kousa dogwood (Cornus kousa) to produce more disease-resistant trees. Such hybrids are written with the botanical name Cornus x rutgersensis, according to "Sunset Western Garden Book" or without a species name so the cultivar name immediately follows the genus name Cornus.

Related Articles

Facts About the Aurora Dogwood Tree
Facts About the Aurora Dogwood Tree
Dogwood Trees of South Carolina
Dogwood Trees of South Carolina
What Is the Rate of Growth for Dogwood Trees?
What Is the Rate of Growth for Dogwood Trees?
Dogwood Trees in Ohio
Dogwood Trees in Ohio
What Weed Killer Kills Buckthorn?
What Weed Killer Kills Buckthorn?
Dogwood Trees in Florida
Dogwood Trees in Florida
Kentucky Flowering Trees
Kentucky Flowering Trees
The Leaves Are Cupping Up on My Dogwood
The Leaves Are Cupping Up on My Dogwood
Non-Flowering Vascular Plants
Non-Flowering Vascular Plants
Varieties of Beech Trees
Varieties of Beech Trees
What Is the Difference Between the Dogwood Tree & the Magnolia?
What Is the Difference Between the Dogwood Tree & the...
Colors of Dogwood Trees
Colors of Dogwood Trees
How to Prune Kousa Dogwood Trees
How to Prune Kousa Dogwood Trees
Classification of Hibiscus Sinensis
Classification of Hibiscus Sinensis
How Tall Do Dogwood Trees Get?
How Tall Do Dogwood Trees Get?
What is the Scientific Name of Azaleas?
What is the Scientific Name of Azaleas?
Edible Crab Apple Tree Varieties
Edible Crab Apple Tree Varieties
Garden Guides
×