(Cornaceae Cornus florida)
Adopted on February 24, 1956.
The dogwood, Cornaceae Cornus
florida, was adopted as the state
flower on February 24, 1956. It is well
distributed throughout the Commonwealth,
and its beauty is symbolic of the many
attractive features of Virginia. The
dogwood blooms in early spring and its
blossom is a tiny cluster of flowers
surrounded by four white leaves that
look like petals.
Flowering dogwood is one of America's
most popular ornamental trees. Known to
most people simply as dogwood, it has
other common names, including boxwood
and cornel. The species name florida is
Latin for flowering, but the showy
petal-like bracts are not in fact
flowers. The bright red fruit of this
fast-growing short-lived tree are
poisonous to humans but provide a great
variety of wildlife with food. The wood
is smooth, hard and close-textured and
now used for specialty products.
- Leaf: Opposite, simple,
arcuately veined, 3 to 6 inches
long, oval in shape with an entire
- Flower: Very small, but
surrounded by 4 large white
(occasionally pink) bracts, 2 inches
in diameter. Appearing March to
April in the south, June in the
- Fruit: A shiny, oval red
drupe, 1/4 to 1/2 inch long, in
clusters of 3 to 4. Maturing in
September to October.
- Twig: Slender, green or
purple, later turning gray, often
with a glaucous bloom. The terminal
flower buds are clove-shaped,
vegetative buds resemble a cat claw.
- Bark: Gray when young,
turning very scaly to blocky.
- Form: A small tree with a
short trunk that branches low,
producing a flat-topped crown.
Branches are opposite, and assume a
||Plantae -- Plants
Spermatophyta – Seed plants
||Cornaceae – Dogwood
||Cornus L. –
Cornus florida L. –
Dendrology at Virginia Tech
U.S. Department of Agriculture