|Key to Dogwood Shrub Species|
|Dogwood shrubs are woody, much-branched plants. Inflorescences are terminal at the
tips of branches and branchlets. Each inflorescence is many-flowered,
round in cross-section, varying from flat topped, convex or round-topped
to domed. Flowers are small, four-petaled, each borne on a short
pedicel, and are crowded within their inflorescence. Branches are opposite
for most species (alternate for Cornus alternifolia).
The fruit of a dogwood shrub is a drupe. A drupe is a fleshy, more or less spherical fruit. Drupes do not split open at maturity, as would a capsule. Example: peaches. Typically, drupes contain a single, hard seed, which is often referred to as a "stone". At maturity, cornus drupes are various shades of blue or white.
Leaves are simple, unlobed, undivided and untoothed; green above, pale whitish or grayish below. Leaf veins are curved, not usually reaching the margins of the leaf.
Compared with other shrub species flowering at the same time, dogwood flowers are not especially fragrant.
Branches are alternate. Leaf tips are long-pointed
(acuminate). Drupes are blue-black.
[ Cornus alternifolia ]
Branches are opposite. Leaf tips are short-pointed
(acute). Drupes are various shades of blue or white.
Leaves are broadly ovate, with more than 6
pairs of veins. [ Cornus rugosa ]
Leaves are narrower, either ovate, narrowly ovate,
elliptic or narrowly elliptic, with 3 to 6 pairs of veins.
Inflorescences are domed (peaked), as tall as
wide or nearly so. Branches of prior seasons are
gray to gray-brown. Drupes are white.
[ Cornus racemosa ]
Inflorescences are flat-topped or slightly convex,
much wider than tall. Branches of prior seasons
are red-brown or bright red-purple. Drupes are
blue or white.
|4. Tips of styles are
appearing "knobbed", approximately twice
the diameter of the portion below. Branches
of prior seasons are dull red to red-brown.
Pith is brown. Drupes are blue. Peduncles
and pedicels are densely pubescent.
[ Cornus amomum ]
|4. Tips of styles are
only slightly widened, if
at all. Diameter of style is more or less
uniform. Branches of prior seasons are
bright red-purple. Pith is white. Drupes are
white. Peduncles and pedicels are sparsely
pubescent. [ Cornus sericea ]
|Images & text copyright Arieh Tal, 1990 to 2023. All rights reserved.|