While there are many Cornus species, the flowering dogwood (C. florida) is the most popular as a garden plant and as cut branches. C. florida is a small tree with simple, opposite leaves. It loses its leaves in autumn, and then flowers in early spring, before the leaves have re-sprouted with a spectacular show, but what some assume are the large flowers are in fact bracts. The flowers themselves are small and inconspicuous and yellow/green, but are surrounded by four (occasionally 8) large, flat petal-like bracts. Flower colour is white, pink and, rarely, red.
Cut dogwood branches are usually harvested from private gardens, and are rare in Australia.
What to look for
- Buy branches when about a half of the flowers are open and buds are plump and firm;
- Avoid bunches with yellow leaves.
- Keep cool at all times.
- Strip leaves from the lower half of each stem and wash stem ends thoroughly.
- Recut at least 2 cm off each stem and place in water immediately.
- Do not bash or split stems.
- Always use a preservative as this will help maintain open flowers.
- Replace vase water with fresh preservative every day.
Interesting Facts about this Flower
The name ‘dogwood’ is a corruption of ‘dagwood’, as the slender stems are very hard and were used for making daggers.
The dogwood (Cornus florida) is the state flower and the state tree for Virginia in the United States.
Botanical Name: Cornus sp., often C. florida
Common Names: Flowering Dogwood
Stem Length: 30 – 60 cm
Country of Origin: USA, China
Available Colours: Pink, Red, White