Cornus florida, the flowering dogwood, is a species of flowering tree in the family Cornaceae native to eastern North America and northern Mexico. The maximum lifespan of the tree is about 80 years.
Cornus florida is a small deciduous tree that typically grows 15-30’ tall with a low-branching, broadly-pyramidal but somewhat flat-topped habit. It arguably may be the most beautiful of the native American flowering trees. It blooms in early spring (April) shortly after, but usually overlapping, the bloom period of the redbuds. The true dogwood flowers are actually tiny, yellowish green and insignificant, being compacted into button-like clusters. However, each flower cluster is surrounded by four showy, white, petal-like bracts which open flat, giving the appearance of a single, large, 3-4” diameter, 4-petaled, white flower. Oval, dark green leaves (3-6” long) turn attractive shades of red in fall. Bright red fruits are bitter and inedible to humans but are loved by birds. Fruits mature in late summer to early fall and may persist until late in the year. Genus name comes from the Latin word cornu meaning horn in probable reference to the strength and density of the wood.