Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

Dogwood Tree Types

By April Sanders ; Updated September 21, 2017
Many types of dogwood trees have distictive and beautiful four-petaled flowers.
dogwood image by Jorge Moro from Fotolia.com

Dogwood trees are desirable for their showy displays of white or pink spring flowers. The different species of dogwood trees vary widely and can be found growing throughout the United States. Some are medium-sized shrubs, with others are towering trees. Some have unique, layered branches, while others are weeping varieties, with gracefully drooping branches. Many types of dogwood trees bear fruit, but others do not. Most have beautiful, dark-purple fall foliage.

Spring Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)

The spring flowering dogwood bursts into bloom before the leaves even emerge, making it one of the earliest and most beautiful harbingers of spring. The tree, which averages 20 feet in height, features masses of pink or white flowers, layered branches and bright red berries that linger on the tree even into winter. Cornus florida thrives in partial shade and is a good tree to plant under coniferous trees. Some varieties of this tree are susceptible to a disease called Antracnose, so it is important to choose a variety that has been cultivated to be resistant to Anthracnose.

Chinese or Kousa Dogwood (Cornus kousa)

The Chinese or Kousa dogwood (Cornus kousa) is a long-blooming dogwood, with white flowers that appear in May and last until early July. Unlike the flowering dogwood, the flowers bloom after the leaves begin to uncurl. These large dogwoods can grow up to 30 feet tall are hardy and resistant to Anthracnose and other diseases. In addition, mature Chinese dogwood trees have bark that peels off to reveal an interesting pattern.

Giant Dogwood (Cornus controversa)

The giant dogwood, as the name implies, is the largest type of dogwood tree. This variety can reach heights of 45 feet, often towering above other trees. The giant dogwood features clumps of tiny white flowers rather than the showy four-petaled flowers of many other types of dogwoods. Also unlike other dogwoods, this tree prefers full sun rather than shady conditions.

Pagoda Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)

This type of dogwood grows more like a shrub, with branches that extend horizontally to form a wide, bushy silhouette. The pagoda dogwood averages between 15 and 20 feet tall and is usually wider than its height. Although it is much smaller, this tree has the same flowers as the giant dogwood. Unlike the giant dogwood, it prefers cool, shady locations.