Skip to Main Content

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.  

Featured Stories

Bitternut hickory leaves
Intro to Trees of Indiana: Bitternut Hickory

Meet the bitternut hickory or Carya cordiformis. This cousin of the pecan, has anywhere from five...

Read More
Nearshore southern Lake Michigan coastline during sunset.
Research Looks at Changes in Lake Michigan Nearshore Fish Assemblage

How has the nearshore fish assemblage in Lake Michigan changed over the last 40 years and what...

Read More
Sophomore wildlife major Emma Johnson holding a bald eagle skull, presenting her Anyone Can Bird program for the first time at Vega State Park.
FNR Field Report: Emma Johnson

Emma Johnson, a sophomore wildlife major from Luray, Virginia, had a two-fold internship as an...

Read More
A bobcat in Indiana
Researchers Develop Tools to Assess Habitat Selection, Suitability for Bobcats

Former postdoctoral researcher Landon Jones along with Drs. Rod Swihart and Pat Zollner and...

Read More
Hackberry leaves
Intro to Trees of Indiana: Hackberry

Meet the hackberry or Celtis occidentalis. This species is easily identified by its lopsided,...

Read More
Leaves of a sweetgum tree
Intro to Trees of Indiana: Sweetgum

Meet sweetgum or Liquidambar styraciflua. This species is easily identified by its leaves, which...

Read More
To Top