Flowering Dogwood

Cornus florida

Flowering Doogwood

Flowering Doogwood (pink) in the spring

“Difficult to imagine spring in the eastern and southeastern United States without Cornus florida”  says Michael Dirr.  [1]  We agree – it’s one of the  main reasons we love Atlanta.  There are many Flowering Dogwoods in Peachtree Park.   And if you want a visual feast, ride down Lullwater near Emory when dogwoods are in bloom.

In urban and suburban settings, care should be taken not to inflict mower damage on the trunk or roots, as this increases the tree’s susceptibility to disease and pest pressure. [2]


Pink Dogwood shading a front walk

This tree has may cultivars with names like ‘Appalachian Spring’, ‘Autumn Gold’ and ‘Cherokee Princess’. [3]

The name “dog-tree” entered the English vocabulary before 1548, becoming “dogwood” by 1614.  Once the name dogwood was affixed to this kind of tree, it soon acquired a secondary name as the Hound’s Tree, while the fruits came to be known as dogberries or houndberries (the latter a name also for the berries of black nightshade, alluding to Hecate’s hounds)  [4]

The fruit is a cluster of two to ten separate drupes (stone fruit), wide, which ripen in the late summer and the early fall to a bright red, or occasionally yellow with a rosy blush. They are an important food source for dozens of species of birds, which then distribute the seeds. [1]

Identification and Description

Dogwood Blooms

Pink Dogwood Blooms

Flowering Dogwood is a small deciduous tree growing to 33 ft  high, often wider than it is tall when mature, with a trunk diameter of up to 1 ft.  A 10-year-old tree will stand about 16 feet tall. [3]

The Flowering Dogwood is a single- or multi-trunked tree with a spreading crown and long-lasting, showy, white and pink spring blooms. [6]

Adapted to Georgia hardiness zones:      6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b.      Atlanta is zone 7b [1]

Supported Wildlife and Other Uses

Northern Mockingbird eating fall dogwood berries

Northern Mockingbird eating fall dogwood berries

The fruit is choice fall and winter food of the gray squirrel and fox squirrel, bobwhite, cedar waxwing, cardinal, flicker, mockingbird, robin, wild turkey, and woodpecker. The leaves and twigs are choice food for the white-tailed deer. It is not an important nesting plant. [5]

It is an important ornamental tree used around homes and office buildings because of its striking display when it is in full bloom. [5]

Champion Flowering Dogwood Trees in Atlanta and Georgia


Atlanta Champion Trees – full list
Georgia Champion Trees – full list
Intown Hawk – Condensed Atlanta and Georgia List

References and Additional Information

[1] UGA Extension: Native Plants for Georgia Part I: Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines (B 987) – Flowering Dogwood
[2]  Manual of Woody Landscape Plants – Michael A. Dirr,
[3]  Wikipdeia: Cornus florida
[4]  Wikipedia: Cornus (Dogwood)
[5]  UDSA Natural Resources Conservation Service: Plant Plant Sheet – Flowering Dogwood
[6]  Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center: Cornus florida
[7]  Missouri Botanical Garden: Cornus florida