Cornus florida

flowering dogwood


wildlife plant   wildlife plant

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Use this link to get more info about this plant from the USF Institute for Systematic Botany

Plant Specifics

Form: tree
Life Span: long-lived perennial
Size: Height: 25-30 ft    Width: 15-25 ft
Flower Color: flower color      white
Fruit Color: fruit color      red
Phenology: deciduous
Noted for: Showy flowers, showy fruits, hurricane wind resistance, fall color


Recommended Uses: Specimen tree. It is known for its showy white "flowers" in the spring. What appears to be the flower petals are actually large bracts. The true flowers occur in a group in the center of the bracts. They are small and yellow-green.
Considerations: Very sensitive to appropriate soils. Does poorly in neutral or alkaline soils. Dogwoods do not tolerate heavy foot traffic or extra soil piled around their root areas.
Propagation: Seed.
Availability: Big box stores, Quality nurseries, Native nurseries, FNPS plant sales
Light: light requirement  
Moisture Tolerance:
Salt Tolerance: Not salt tolerant
Soil or other substrate: Sand, loam
Soil pH Range: Acidic


wildlife plant   wildlife plant  
Fruit is eaten by many songbirds including thrushes, veery, northern cardinal, sparrows, titmicee, towhees, grosbeaks, thrashers, bluebirds, juncos, American robin woodpeckers, crows, grackle and wild turkey. Deer and small mammals use fruits and foliage. Larval host for cecropia silkmoth (Hyalophora cecropia) and spring azure butterfly (Celastrina ladon).
Native Habitats: Mesic hardwood forests, pine-oak-hickory woods, mesic longleaf pinelands.

Distribution and Planting Zones

Natural Range in Florida

USDA Zones:

USDA zones are based on minimum winter temperatures

Suitable to grow in:


The bright red fruits are poisonous to humans but have been used as dyes. The wood is hard and has been values by artisans.

Other Comments:

This species may not survive well near the southern end of its range especially if grown in full sun and droughty conditions. And even if it does survive, it does not have the impact that it does in the north, where the flowers stand out in the landscape before any leaves emerge in the spring.