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Intro to Trees of Indiana: Flowering Dogwood

The classic and trusted book "Fifty Common Trees of Indiana" by T.E. Shaw was published in 1956 as a user-friendly guide to local species.  Nearly 70 years later, the publication has been updated through a joint effort by the Purdue Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Indiana 4-H, and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, and reintroduced as "An Introduction to Trees of Indiana."

The full publication is available for download for $7 in the Purdue Extension Education Store. The field guide helps identify common Indiana woodlot trees. 

Each week, the Intro to Trees of Indiana web series will offer a sneak peek at one species from the book, paired with an ID That Tree video from Purdue Extension forester Lenny Farlee to help visualize each species as it stands in the woods. Threats to species health as well as also insight into the wood provided by the species, will be provided through additional resources as well as the Hardwoods of the Central Midwest exhibit of the Purdue Arboretum, if available. 

This week, we introduce the flowering dogwood or Cornus florida.Flowering dogwood leaf

This small native Indiana tree has beautiful white blossoms in the spring, and red to maroon foliage in the fall. It has opposite leaf arrangement with simple leaves featuring a venation pattern that sees the veins angle and sweep along the edges of the leaf and curve to the tip. The bark is a rough alligator hide texture that ranges from light to medium gray.

The showy white flowers, which appear in April or May, are followed by berry-like fruit clusters thatFlowering dogwood flower are green at first, later turning red.

Flowering dogwood is the largest dogwood in the state of Indiana. It is shade tolerant, but it prefers good soil drainage and protection from the wind.

Flowering dogwood is a great alternative to the invasive callery pear.

According to Morton Arboretum, the flowering dogwood grows to 20 to 40 feet tall.

According to the Wood Database, flowering dogwood is commonly used in golf club heads, textile shuttles, bows for archery, mallets, pulleys and turned objects.  

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