|Cornus florida subsp. var.||Flowering Dogwood|
Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood, syn. Benthamidia florida (L.) Spach) is a species of dogwood native to eastern North America, from southern Maine west to southern Ontario and eastern Kansas, and south to northern Florida and eastern Texas and also in Illinois, with a disjunct population in eastern Mexico in Nuevo León and Veracruz.
Flowering dogwood is a small deciduous tree growing to 10 m ft high, often wider than it is tall when mature, with a trunk diameter of up to 30 cm ft 0. A 10-year-old tree will stand about 5 m ft 0 tall. The leaves are opposite, simple, ovate, 6–13 cm long and 4–6 cm broad, with an apparently entire margin (actually very finely toothed, under a lens); they turn a rich red-brown in fall.
The flowers are individually small and inconspicuous, with four greenish-yellow petals 4 mm long. Around 20 flowers are produced in a dense, rounded, umbel-shaped inflorescence, or flower-head, 1–2 cm in diameter. The flower-head is surrounded by four conspicuous large white, pink or red "petals" (actually bracts), each bract 3 cm long and 2.5 cm broad, rounded, and often with a distinct notch at the apex. The flowers are bisexual.
While most of the wild trees have white bracts, some selected cultivars of this tree also have pink bracts, some even almost a true red. They typically flower in early April in the southern part of their range, to late April or early May in northern and high altitude areas. The similar Kousa Dogwood (Cornus kousa), native to Asia, flowers about a month later.
The fruit is a cluster of two to ten drupes, each 10–15 mm long and about 8 mm wide, which ripen in the late summer and the early fall to a bright red, or occasionally yellow with a rosy blush. They are an important food source for dozens of species of birds, which then distribute the seeds.
|Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture|
Cornus florida, Linn. (Cynoxylon floridum, Raf.). Flowering Dogwood. Shrub or small tree with spreading branches, 10-15 ft., rarely to 40 ft.: lvs. oval or ovate, acute, dark green and glabrous above, glaucous or whitish beneath, usually only pubescent on the veins, 3-6 in. long: involucre white or pinkish, 3—4 in. wide; bracts 4, obovate, emarginate: fr. ½in. long, scarlet. May. Mass, to Fla., west to Ont. and Texas, also E. and S. Mex.—One of the most beautiful American flowering trees; hardy N. Var. pendula, Dipp. With pendulous branches. Var. rubra, Andr6. With pink involucre. Neither variety as hardy as the type.
Flowering Dogwood does best horticulturally in moist, acidic soil in a site with some afternoon shade, but good morning sun. It does not do well when exposed to intense heat sources such as adjacent parking lots or air conditioning compressors. It also has a low salinity tolerance. In urban and suburban settings, care should be taken not to inflict mower damage on the trunk or roots, as this increases the tree’s susceptibility to disease and pest pressure.
In regions where dogwood anthracnose is a problem, homeowners and public land managers are encouraged to know the symptoms and inspect trees frequently. The selection of healthy, disease-free planting stock is essential and transplanting trees from the forest should be avoided. Sites should be selected for reasonably well-drained, fertile soils; full sun is recommended in high-hazard areas (such as stream or pond banks). New plantings should be mulched to a depth of 2 to 4 in, avoiding the stem. Dead wood and leaves should be pruned and completely removed and destroyed yearly. Plants should be watered weekly during droughts, with watering done in the morning, avoiding wetting the foliage. Registered fungicides can be applied when necessary, according to manufacturers instructions and advice of local Extension Service.
Flowering dogwood is grown widely throughout mid-temperate North America. In the eastern part of the continent, it is cultivated as far north as Toronto and south to central Florida. Farther west, places of cultivation include Boulder, Sacramento and Vancouver. It is also sold in other temperate parts of the world, including Sydney, Australia.
Cornus florida is easily propagated by seeds, which are sown in the fall into prepared rows of sawdust or sand, and emerge in the spring. Germination rates for good clean seed should be near 100% if seed dormancy is first overcome by cold stratification treatments for 90 to 120 days at 4 °C °F .
Flowering dogwood demonstrates gametophytic self-incompatibility, meaning that the plants can’t self-fertilize. This is important for breeding programs as it means that it is not necessary to emasculate (remove the anthers from) C. florida flowers before making controlled cross-pollinations. These pollinations should be repeated every other day, as the flowers must be cross-pollinated within one or two days of opening for pollinations to be effective.
Softwood cuttings taken in late spring or early summer from new growth can be rooted under mist if treated with 8,000 to 10,000 ppm indole-3-butyric acid (IBA). In cold climates, potted cuttings must be kept in heated cold frames or polyhouses the following winter to maintain temperatures between 0 and 7°C. Although rooting success can be as high as 50-85%, this technique is not commonly used by commercial growers. Rather, selected cultivars are generally propagated by T-budding in late summer or by whip grafting in the greenhouse in winter onto seedling rootstock.
Micropropagation of flowering dogwood is now used in breeding programs aiming to incorporate resistance to dogwood anthracnose and powdery mildew into horticulturally and economically important cultivars. Nodal (axillary bud) sections are established in a culture of Woody Plant Medium (WPM) amended with 4.4 μM 6-Benzyladenine (BA) to promote shoot growth. Rooting of up to 83% can be obtained when 5-7 week-old microshoots are then transferred to WPM amended with 4.9 μM IBA.
Pests and diseases
There are two subspecies:
- Cornus florida subsp. florida. Eastern United States, southeastern Canada (Ontario).
- Cornus florida subsp. urbiniana (Rose) Rickett (syn. Cornus urbiniana Rose). Eastern Mexico (Nuevo León, Veracruz).
- Selected cultivars
- ‘Amerika Touch-O-Pink’ – large bracts, tinged pink; large leaves; good disease resistance.
- ‘Appalachian Spring’ – large white bracts; red fall foliage; resistant to dogwood anthracnose.
- 'Autumn Gold' - white bracts; yellow fall color.
- 'Barton' - large white bracts; blooms at early age; resistant to stem canker and powdery mildew.
- 'Bay Beauty' - double white bracts; resists heat and drought; good for Deep South.
- 'Cherokee Daybreak' - white bract; vigorous grower with variegated leaves.
- 'Cherokee Chief' - red bracts; red new growth.
- 'Cherokee Brave' - Even redder than 'Cherokee Chief', smaller bracts but dark red color; consistently resistant to powdery mildew.
- 'Cherokee Princess' - vigorous white bracts, industry standard for white flowers.
- 'Cherokee Sunset' - purplish-red bracts; variegated foliage.
- 'Gulf Coast Pink' - best pink flowering dogwood in Florida – northern part only.
- 'Hohman's Gold' - white bracts; variegated foliage.
- ‘Jean’s Appalachian Snow’ – large, overlapping white bracts w/ green flowers; very resistant to powdery mildew.
- ‘Karen’s Appalachian Blush’ – delicate white bracts edged in pink; some powdery mildew resistance.
- ‘Kay’s Appalachian Mist’ – stiff, creamy white bracts; red fall foliage; good resistance to powdery mildew.
- 'Plena' - double white bracts; spot anthracnose-resistant.
- 'Purple Glory' - red bracts; purple foliage; spot anthracnose-resistant but susceptible to stem canker.
- 'Weaver White' - large white blooms; large leaves; candelabra shape; good in north-central Florida.
A pink-flowered C. florida.
White C. florida. 'Bay Beauty'. Note the double bracts.
- ↑ Cappiello, P and D Shadow. 2005. Dogwoods: The Genus Cornus. Timber Press, Portland. pp 98-100.
- ↑ Anderson, RL, JL Knighten, M Windham, K Langdon, F Hendrix, R Roncadori. 1994. Dogwood anthracnose and its spread in the South. Project Report R8-PR 26. USDA Forest Service, Atlanta, GA. 10pp.
- ↑ Cappiello, P and D Shadow. 2005. Dogwoods: The Genus Cornus. Timber Press, Portland. pp 100-102.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Hartmann, HT, DE Kester, FT Davies, RL Geneve. 2002. Hartmann and Kester’s Plant Propagation: Principles and Practices, 7th Edition. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ. pp. 769.
- ↑ Reed, SM. 2004. Self-incompatibility in Cornus florida. HortScience 39(2): 335-338.
- ↑ Cappiello, P and D Shadow. 2005. Dogwoods: The Genus Cornus. Timber Press, Portland. pp 102.
- ↑ Kaveriappa, KM, LM Phillips, RN Trigiano. 1997. Micropropagation of flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) from seedlings. Plant Cell Reports 16: 485-489.
- ↑ Sharma, AR, RN Trigiano, WT Witte, OJ Schwarz. 2005. In vitro adventitious rooting of Cornus florida microshoots. Scientia Horticulturae 103: 381-385.