Cornus florida (Clark County, IL)

Flowering Dogwood

Plant Type:


Cornus florida (Clark County, IL; ex: Will Forster) - The iconic Flowering Dogwood, a handsome domed small tree to 20 feet, possibly more. White flowers consist of 4 showy bracts connected to the central axis with the nub of sexual parts protruding at the center. Leaves are opposite, simple and ovate, green above and glaucous below. Foliage changes to wine and maroon tones in autumn and with bright glossy red fruits studding the overall autumn show is aesthetically notable. The gray-brown bark becomes increasingly flaked, alligator skin-like on mature plants. Our first offering(s) is this basic species from wild specimens, seed collected by Will Forster from a population in Clark County, IL. Down the road we will continue to propagate via cuttings. When I was a child every May I would delight to see white and occasional pink-flowered wild trees roadside when looking out the car windows in the deciduous woods of eastern Connecticut. And then a wicked leaf and stem anthracnose found its way here and did the dark work of killing off entire populations such that now this fine small tree seldom seen in the woodlands of New England nor much of the mid-Atlantic region. However, garden and landscape specimens with adequate moisture planted in good soil fare well. When younger trees are provided extra water during drought the tender loving care gets them through. Older established trees withstand droughty conditions better - no surprise there. But don't cheat Cornus florida: plant them in organic soil that will retain moisture between rains and in at least one half day of sunlight. Seed grown or cutting grown.


20 ft


20 ft




(4b?)5 to 8(9a?)
What is my hardiness zone?

Characteristics and Attributes for Cornus florida (Clark County, IL)

Season of Interest (Flowering)

  • Spring

Season of Interest (Foliage)

  • Spring / Summer / Autumn

Interesting Bark

  • Alligator Skin

Autumn Interest

  • Fruit / Berries / Seed Heads
  • Autumn Leaf Color

Nature Attraction

  • Honey Bees & Native Bees
  • Butterflies
  • Songbirds


  • Sun Tolerant
  • Morning Sun / Afternoon Shade
  • Mostly Sunny


  • Natural Garden
  • Woodland
  • Bonsai Candidate
  • Specimen
  • Alee

Growth Rate in the Garden

  • Medium


  • Fertile
  • Moist
  • Acid
  • Draining


  • Illinois

Propagated By

  • Cutting Grown
  • By Seed / Potted

Genus Overview: Cornus

Cornus. The Dogwoods come in many sizes – low growing shrubs to rounded trees. They are indispensable in a garden with almost all species and cultivars sporting four seasons of interest. Many exhibit richly-colored winter wood, attractive flowers and pretty berries in blue or white. Most offer terrific fall foliage color. The cultivars that offer gorgeous winter bark are especially well-used as background to lower growing evergeens or as foreground shrubs set before conifers, their stem colors glowing in winter against a backdrop of green, black-green, yellow or blue. All that produce flowers and fruit are very fine choices for the wildlife enthusiast. The trees provide nesting spots. When shrubs are grouped together these also provide nesting opportunities for some species of sparrows and even catbirds among others. The trees and shrubs provide nectar for bees and many other pollinators when in flower. Birds relish the late season fruits. All prefer fertile soils that retain some moisture between rain events. All of our offerings are cutting grown.