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White DogwoodCornus florida

  • White Dogwood - Cornus florida
An excellent landscape choice for all four seasons, the white dogwood is a favorite in many yards and gardens. White “flowers” show their beauty in spring, foliage turns a vibrant red-purple in fall, and glossy red fruits attract winter songbirds for the enjoyment of all.

This tree is a great option to plant near utility lines, next to larger buildings, or near patios. It also offers nice contrast when planted along with pink or red dogwoods with larger evergreens in the background.

Hardiness Zones

The white dogwood can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 5–9. View Map

Tree Type

Mature Size

The white dogwood grows to a height of around 25' and a spread of around 25' at maturity.

Growth Speed Medium Growth Rate

This tree grows at a medium rate, with height increases of 13–24" per year.

Sun Preference

Full sun and partial shade are best for this tree, meaning it prefers a minimum of four hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference

The white dogwood is very versatile—growing in acidic, loamy, moist, rich, sandy, well-drained and clay soils. It prefers moist conditions.


This tree:
  • Blooms April–May, with distinctive white bracts (modified leaves) surrounding a smaller insignificant flower.
  • Produces glossy red fruit eaten by birds.
  • Provides great fall color, with leaves turning red-purple.
  • Grows in a rounded shape.
  • Is a good choice for planting near utility lines, larger buildings or patios.
  • Features dark green leaves that are 4–8" long and oval or ovate in shape.

Wildlife Value

The seed, fruit, flowers, twigs, bark and leaves are all used as food by various animals. At least 36 species of birds—including ruffed grouse, bobwhite quail and wild turkey—are known to eat the fruit. Chipmunks, foxes, squirrels, skunks, rabbits, deer, beaver, black bear and other mammals also eat the fruit. Foliage and twigs are browsed heavily by deer and rabbits.


Native from Massachusetts to Florida and west to Texas, this tree was cultivated in 1731. A favorite in America for centuries, both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson planted it on their plantations. Early Native Americans made medicinal teas from its bark, and desperate Civil War doctors used this tea as a quinine substitute. The wood is extremely hard and has been used for weaver's shuttles, chisel and maul handles, golf club heads and yokes.

It is the state tree of Missouri and Virginia.