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Broad-scale Impacts of Fire

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More info for the terms: frequency, severity

Hodgkins [43] observed that fire-caused mortality in small hardwoods is
related to diameter, season of burn, weather, frequency of fire, and the
amount of heat received at the ground line. In relatively hot, dry
portions of eastern Texas, flowering dogwood was killed by winter,
spring, and fall burns repeated after 2 years [43]. Hot annual summer
fires may be necessary to kill small hardwoods in moist areas of the
Southeast. Gill and Healy [31] reported that flowering dogwood can
survive infrequent low severity winter fires when plants are at least 10
to 15 feet (3-5 m) in height.

Fire-caused mortality of flowering dogwood is correlated with the amount
of heat received at the cambium. The mean time required for the cambium
to reach lethal temperatures (approximately 140 degrees F [60 degrees
C]) has been reported as follows [39]:

bark thickness seconds required for cambium
(in inches) to reach 140 degrees F

0.20 30.4
0.30 59.4
0.40 126.2
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Tirmenstein, D. A. 1991. Cornus florida. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Broad-scale Impacts of Plant Response to Fire

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More info for the terms: basal area, cover, crown fire, density, forest, fruit, prescribed burn, seed, surface fire, tree

Cover: The cover of flowering dogwood was estimated at 33.7 percent of
the total basal area on unburned plots in a loblolly pine community of
North Carolina [70]. After a surface fire, crown cover was reduced to
14.6 percent of the total basal area and accounted for only 10.2 percent
after a crown fire. Specific results are as follows [70]:

density % freq. % basal area

unburned 13.1 100 4.47
surface fire 7.3 80 0.80
crown fire 10.6 90 0.70

Fruit/seed production: Landers [53] reported that fruit production may
be greater during the first year after fire. Average fruit yields were
as follows after a winter prescribed burn in the Southeast [88]:

1973 1975
(preburn) (1 yr. after burn)

burn 0.86 30.75
control 1.12 9.21

On the George Washington National Forest, West Virginia, a spring prescribed
fire increased total flowering dogwood density in a mixed-hardwood forest.
Average flowering dogwood seedling densities before fire and in postfire
year 5 were 605 and 737 seedlings/acre, respectively; flowering dogwood sprout
densities were 1,158 sprouts/acre before and 1,553 sprouts/acre 5 years after
the fire. See the Research Paper of Wendel and Smith's [104] study for details
on the fire prescription and fire effects on flowering dogwood and 6 other
tree species.

Cushwa and others [17] reported postfire decreases in seed production in
Georgia.

The Research Project Summary Effects of surface fires in a mixed red and
eastern white pine stand in Michigan
provides information on prescribed
fire and postfire response of plant community species, including flowering
dogwood, that was not available when this species review was written.
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Tirmenstein, D. A. 1991. Cornus florida. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Common Names

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flowering dogwood
cornel
boxwood
arrowwood
white cornel
Cornelian tree
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Tirmenstein, D. A. 1991. Cornus florida. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Conservation Status

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Flowering dogwood has been placed on the protected list in many of the
states in which it occurs [61].
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Tirmenstein, D. A. 1991. Cornus florida. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Cover Value

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More info for the term: cover

Flowering dogwood provides good cover for many wildlife species [31].
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Tirmenstein, D. A. 1991. Cornus florida. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Description

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More info for the terms: drupe, fruit, root crown, shrub, tree

Flowering dogwood is a multibranched shrub or small tree that commonly
reaches 16 to 49 feet (5-15 m) in height [31,76]. In the South, plants
may grow 40 feet (12 m) tall with a d.b.h. of 18 inches (46 cm) [61],
but in the North, flowering dogwood more often grows as a multibranched
shrub, reaching heights of 10 to 13 feet (3-4 m) [86]. Flowering
dogwood is characterized by a broad, rounded crown [21,32]. Several
trunks may develop from a single root crown [76]. Rooting depths are
generally shallow and often less than 3 feet (1 m) [1]. The large,
simple, opposite leaves generally average 2 to 6 inches (5-15 cm) in
length [61].

Fruit is a glabrous, smooth, yellow to red, berrylike drupe [87] that
averages 0.6 inch (1.5 cm) in length and are borne in clusters of two to
six [32,79]. Flowering dogwood fruit tends to be heavier at higher
latitudes [99]. Each drupe contains one to two cream-colored, ellipsoid
seeds averaging 0.3 to 0.4 inch (7-9 mm) in length [33,87].

Important distinctions between commonly recognized varieties and forms
are summarized below [60,65,79]:

var. urbiniana - bracts narrower, twigs grayer, with
larger drupes.
var. pringlei - bracts fused.
f. xanthocarpa - drupes yellow.
f. rubra - red involucral bracts.
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Tirmenstein, D. A. 1991. Cornus florida. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Distribution

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Flowering dogwood grows from central Florida northward to southwestern
Maine [32,65,87] and extends westward through southern Ontario to
central Michigan, central Illinois, Missouri, southeastern Kansas,
eastern Oklahoma, and eastern Texas [57,65]. The variety urbiniana (or
subspecies) is found in the mountains of Nuevo Leon and Veracruz in
eastern Mexico [27,65,79]. The form xanthocarpa occurs in parts of New
York [79].
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Tirmenstein, D. A. 1991. Cornus florida. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Fire Ecology

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More info for the terms: fire regime, root crown, seed

Flowering dogwood is well adapted to periodic fire [50]. Plants
commonly sprout from the root crown after aboveground vegetation is
damaged or destroyed. Seedling establishment by means of bird and
mammal-dispersed seed is also commonly observed.

Flowering dogwood can persist in some fire-maintained seral communities
[67]. In the southern Appalachians, vegetative shifts toward scarlet
oak, hickories, red maple, sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreum), and flowering
dogwood have been reported after fire where preburn communities were
dominated by yellow poplar, chestnut oak, northern red oak (Quercus
rubra), and white oak [29].

FIRE REGIMES :
Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this
species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under
"Find FIRE REGIMES".
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Tirmenstein, D. A. 1991. Cornus florida. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

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More info for the terms: chamaephyte, hemicryptophyte, phanerophyte

Undisturbed State: Phanerophyte (mesophanerophyte)
Undisturbed State: Phanerophyte (microphanerophyte)
Burned or Clipped State: Chamaephyte
Burned or Clipped State: Hemicryptophyte
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Tirmenstein, D. A. 1991. Cornus florida. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Habitat characteristics

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More info for the terms: hardwood, mesic

Flowering dogwood grows in mesic deciduous woods, on floodplains,
slopes, bluffs, and in ravines [33,87,100]. It also occurs in gum
swamps, along fencerows, and in oldfield communities [15]. Growth is
often poor on dry, upland slopes and ridges [65]. Flowering dogwood
grows as an understory associate in many hardwood and conifer forests
throughout eastern North America [65].

Plant associates: In addition to those identified in the Distribution
and Occurrence slot, common overstory associates include scarlet oak
(Quercus coccinea), southern red oak (Q. falcata), post oak (Q.
stellata), pitch pine (Pinus rigida), slash pine (P. elliottii),
Virginia pine (P. virginiana), black gum (Nyssa sylvatica), sweetgum
(Liquidambar styraciflua), yellow poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera),
sassafras (Sassafras albidum), persimmon (Diospyros virginiana), red
maple (Acer rubrum) [37,65]. Understory associates are numerous and
often include serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.), blueberries (Vaccinium
spp.), and brambles (Rubus spp.) [8,46].

Soils: Flowering dogwood occurs on soils that vary from moist, deep
soils to light-textured, well-drained upland soils [65] but most
commonly occurs on coarse to medium-textured acidic soils [2,86].
Abundance generally increases with better drainage and lighter soil
textures. It is often virtually absent on heavy, poorly drained soils
[65]. Soil pH generally ranges from 6 to 7 [28]. Common parent
materials include gravel, sandstone, and limestone [87].

Elevation: In the southern Appalachians, flowering dogwood grows from
sea level to 4,931 feet (0-1,500 m) [22] but does best on flats and
lower or middle slopes from 1,000 to 4,000 feet (304-1,219 m) in
elevation [28]. In the Great Smoky Mountains flowering dogwood grows
below 3,000 feet ( less than 914 m) [96].
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Tirmenstein, D. A. 1991. Cornus florida. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Habitat: Cover Types

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This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):

1 Jack pine
23 Eastern hemlock
44 Chestnut oak
52 White oak - black oak - northern red oak
53 White oak
60 Beech - sugar maple
70 Longleaf pine
75 Shortleaf pine
80 Loblolly pine - shortleaf pine
81 Loblolly pine
82 Loblolly pine
83 Longleaf pine - slash pine
110 Black oak
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Tirmenstein, D. A. 1991. Cornus florida. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Habitat: Ecosystem

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This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

FRES10 White - red - jack pine
FRES12 Longleaf - slash pine
FRES13 Loblolly - shortleaf pine
FRES14 Oak - pine
FRES15 Oak - hickory
FRES18 Maple - beech - birch
FRES39 Prairie
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Tirmenstein, D. A. 1991. Cornus florida. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Habitat: Plant Associations

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This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

More info for the term: forest

K083 Cedar glade
K095 Great Lakes pine forest
K100 Oak - hickory forest
K103 Mixed mesophytic forest
K111 Oak - hickory - pine forest
K112 Southern mixed forest
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Tirmenstein, D. A. 1991. Cornus florida. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Immediate Effect of Fire

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More info for the term: prescribed burn

Flowering dogwood has been variously described as a fire-tolerant [53]
and fire-intolerant species [34]. Its bark is among the thinnest of all
eastern trees [40], and mature individuals are readily damaged by fire
[65]. Approximately 50 percent of all flowering dogwood stems were
top-killed by fire in south-central New York [89] and 58 percent
mortality was reported after a prescribed burn in a 22-year old loblolly
pine plantation in Tennessee [101]. All aboveground portions of the
plants died within 1 year of a fire in the Northeast [31].
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Tirmenstein, D. A. 1991. Cornus florida. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

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More info for the terms: forest, fruit

Fruit: Flowering dogwood is a valuable species for wildlife. Its fruit
is readily eaten by many songbirds including the hermit, olive-back, and
gray-cheeked thrushes, veery, northern cardinal, white-throated sparrow,
tufted titmouse, towhees, grosbeaks, thrashers, bluebirds, and juncos
[4,24,38,63,97]. The fruit is particularly important to the American
robin. Flocks often move from the forest edge to the interior as
berries are depleted [4]. The pileated woodpecker, red-headed
woodpecker, red-bellied woodpecker, common crow, common grackle, and
starling also seek out flowering dogwood fruit [24]. Value of fruit to
upland game birds is rated as good [13]. In the Missouri Ozarks,
flowering dogwood fruit is particularly important to the wild turkey
from September to February [31]. Berries are readily eaten by the
eastern chipmunk, white-footed mouse, gray fox, gray squirrel, black
bear, beaver, white-tailed deer, skunks, and other mammals [31,65,91].

Browse: Beaver occasionally feed on flowering dogwood browse [31] and
sprouts are often heavily browsed by rabbits [65]. In southwestern
Michigan, browse is preferred by cottontail rabbits during the winter
[31] and in parts of Pennsylvania, flowering dogwood is considered an
important deer browse [12]. Deer utilization has reached 25 to 35
percent in parts of southeastern Texas [55].
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Tirmenstein, D. A. 1991. Cornus florida. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Key Plant Community Associations

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More info for the term: codominant

Flowering dogwood commonly grows as a scattered understory species in
many eastern deciduous or coniferous forests. It has been identified as
and important understory dominant or codominant in several eastern
hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) and white oak (Quercus alba) communities.
Spotted wintergreen (Chimaphila maculata) has been listed as a
codominant. Flowering dogwood is included as an indicator or dominant
in the following community types (cts) classifications:

Area Classification Authority

SC general veg. cts Jones 1990

Shen. Nat'l. Park, VA general veg. cts Hall & Kuss 1989
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Tirmenstein, D. A. 1991. Cornus florida. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Life Form

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More info for the terms: shrub, tree

Tree, Shrub
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Tirmenstein, D. A. 1991. Cornus florida. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Management considerations

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Chemical control: Flowering dogwood is moderately difficult to kill
with herbicides [51,66,68,83]. It is intermediately resistant to
glyphosate [95]. Winter treatments are generally less effective than
summer treatments [51]. Good results have been obtained with directed
sprays of Garlon.

Mechanical treatment: Flowering dogwood typically sprouts vigorously
after stems are cut [11]. Plants cut in July or early August tend to
produce the shortest sprouts and smallest sprout clumps. Three years
after treatment, sprout clumps originating from midsummer cuts averaged
2.5 feet (0.8 m) shorter and 1.5 feet (0.5 m) narrower than those from
winter cuts [11].

Silviculture: Flowering dogwood is typically more abundant in lightly
cut stands than in clearcuts [16]. Loftis [58] reported increases in
numbers following shelterwood treatments. In upland oak forests,
greatest abundance is often reached in unthinned stands [42].

Damage: Flowering dogwood can be killed by drought or flooding [31].
It is potentially sensitive to ozone damage [78].

Insects/diseases: Flowering dogwood is susceptible to many insects,
including the dogwood borer, flat-headed borer, dogwood twig borer, twig
girdler, and dogwood scale [65]. Flowering dogwood is now seriously
threatened by dogwood blight, also known as dogwood decline [104,94],
which has affected large numbers of trees from New England to Virginia
[85,94]. The primary cause is believed to be the dogwood anthracnose
fungus, although a combination of factors may be involved [104,85].
Unfavorable environmental factors such as drought or acid rain may
weaken trees, predisposing them to dogwood decline [104]. The dogwood
borer may play a similar role [94]. Some experts see little hope of
saving flowering dogwood in the wild [85].
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Tirmenstein, D. A. 1991. Cornus florida. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Nutritional Value

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More info for the terms: fire management, fruit, phenology

The nutrient value of flowering dogwood varies significantly by plant
part, site history [see Fire Management Considerations], phenology, and
soil moisture levels [19,54].

Browse: Leaves of flowering dogwood are high in calcium, fat, and
fluorine [31,65]. Leaves were found to contain 1.72 percent calcium,
and twigs 1.44 percent [31]. Fluorine content of leaves was 72 p/m in
June but increased to 103 p/m by October [65]. Selected nutrient values
for flowering dogwood browse on unburned sites were reported as follows
[54]:

(percent measured at 15 percent moisture level)
dates protein fat fiber N-free extract ash Ca

spring 10.26 3.82 13.54 51.22 6.16 2.04
summer 6.49 5.61 13.61 51.57 7.72 2.76
fall 5.12 6.84 15.82 48.41 8.13 2.90
winter 4.49 4.30 21.85 48.23 6.13 2.01

Nutrient content of foliage has been measured as follows [65]:

K P Ca Mg S B Cu Fe Mn Zn
oven-dry (mg/kg of foliage) - ppm (mg/kg)

4,000 1,800 27,000 3,000 3,800 23 7- 240- 30- 3-
11,000 3,200 42,000 5,000 7,000 9 380 50 28

Fruit: Fruit of flowering dogwood is high in calcium and fats [65].
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Tirmenstein, D. A. 1991. Cornus florida. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Occurrence in North America

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AL AR CT DE FL GA IN IL KS KY
LA ME MD MA MI MS MO NH NJ NY
NC OH OK PA RI SC TN TX VT WV
ON MEXICO
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Other uses and values

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Flowering dogwood is highly valued as an ornamental and was first
cultivated in 1731 [9]. Showy blossoms and attractive fall foliage
contribute to its year-round beauty. It is widely used in landscaping
and street plantings [87]. At least 20 cultivars are now available
[65]. Popular cultivars include 'Sweetwater Red,' 'Silveredge,' 'White
Cloud,' 'Spring Song,' 'Gigantea' [61], and 'Welchii' which is
characterized by unique yellow and red variegated leaves [65].

Some Native American peoples made a scarlet dye from the roots of
flowering dogwood [61]. Teas and quinine substitutes were made from the
bark [61]. Plants contain cornine which is used medicinally in parts of
Mexico [27]. The bright red fruits are poisonous to humans [65].
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Tirmenstein, D. A. 1991. Cornus florida. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Palatability

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More info for the term: fruit

Flowering dogwood is fairly palatable to deer in southeastern Texas
[54]. Palatability may be somewhat higher in parts of Pennsylvania
[12]. The fruit of flowering dogwood is highly palatable to a wide
variety of birds and mammals.
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Tirmenstein, D. A. 1991. Cornus florida. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Phenology

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More info on this topic.

More info for the terms: association, fruit, seed

Vegetatative growth occurs throughout most of the summer but may cease
during periods of adverse weather conditions [56]. In a Massachusetts
study, seedlings grew from April 24 through September 4, although 90
percent of the total growth took place from May 15 through August 18
[65]. Growth was most rapid during the first week of August [65].
Laboratory tests indicate that short day lengths can force plants into
premature dormancy [28]. Rapid diameter growth typically lasts 80 to 90
days [28]. New floral and vegetative buds become evident in August,
develop somewhat during the summer months, remain dormant through the
winter, and expand the following spring [36]. Flowers develop with
[86,87] or before the leaves [61]. In Ohio, Gorchov [103] reported a
mean average of 138 days between flowering and fruit ripening.
Flowering typically occurs in mid-March in the South and as late as May
in the North [65]. Flowering and fruiting dates by geographic location
are as follows:

Location Flowering Fruiting Authority

FL Panhandle April-June ---- Clewell 1985
Great Plains March-May ---- Great Plains Flora
Association 1986
NC, SC March-April Sept.-Oct. Radford & others 1968
n-c Plains April-May late Sept. Stephens 1973
New England May 8-June 12 ---- Seymour 1985
ON late May Aug.-Sept. Soper & Heimburger 1982
TX late March-early May Sept. Simpson 1988, Lesser &
Wistendahl 1974
WV ---- Sept. Pack 1942

Seed dispersal occurs from mid-October to November or later [56]. In
West Virginia, latest fruit persistence was recorded on December 2; in
Texas, some seed persisted until January [56]. Leaves turn a deep red
in late September [87] and leaf fall occurs from early October to early
November [28].
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Tirmenstein, D. A. 1991. Cornus florida. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Plant Response to Fire

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More info for the terms: density, fire frequency, fire severity, frequency, hardwood, root crown, severity

Flowering dogwood usually sprouts profusely from the stump or root crown
after plants are top-killed or damaged by fire [31,65]. Specific
postfire response is related to fire severity and intensity, season of
burn, site factors, and fire frequency. Postfire recovery is generally
more rapid after surface fires than after crown fires [70] [see
Qualification and Discussion of Plant Response to Fire].

In south-central New York, Swan [89] reported an average of 7.2 sprouts
per top-killed stem. Postfire increases in sprout numbers have been
reported in oak-hickory stands of Missouri and in upland hardwood stands
of northern Alabama [45,59,65]. Prefire frequency of flowering dogwood
was measured at 1, with stem densities of 153 per acre (378/ha). Ten
years after fire, frequency had climbed to 9, with stem densities of 267
per acre (660/ha) [59]. Increases in stem density were recorded after 2
burns in an oak-pine stand of Kentucky [98]. However, frequent fires at
short intervals can reduce the relative number of flowering dogwood
stems. Comparisons of flowering dogwood on an annually burned plot and
on an adjacent plot left undisturbed for 15 years are as follows [23]:

# stems/acre rel. dom. % rel. dens. % freq. %

15 yr. 115 2 73 5
annual burn 8 < 1 13 7
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Post-fire Regeneration

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More info for the terms: caudex, root crown, seed

survivor species; on-site surviving root crown or caudex
off-site colonizer; seed carried by animals or water; postfire yr 1&2
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Regeneration Processes

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More info for the terms: fruit, layering, natural, root crown, scarification, seed, stratification

Flowering dogwood reproduces through seed as well as by vegetative
means.

Seed: Plants grown from seed often produce seed as early as 6 years of
age [9,65,73]. Six-year old sprouts with a diameter of 0.75 inch (19
mm) and height of 4 feet (1.2 m) have also reportedly produced seed
[65]. Good seed crops are produced every 2 years, with crop failures
likely in 1 of 4 years [56]. Pack [71] reported that 71 percent of all
plants bore fruit during a single year, with average yields of 0.50
quart (0.4 l). An annual average of 1,417 fruits per acre (3,500/ha)
was reported in oak-hickory stands and up to 27,530 per acre (68,000/ha)
in openings [14]. Flowers are pollinated by beetles, bees, butterflies,
and flies [24]. Seeds are dispersed by birds, mammals, and gravity
[65].

Germination: Flowering dogwood is characterized by delayed germination
due to embryo dormancy [65]. Under natural conditions, seeds overwinter
before germination occurs [72], and some seeds do not germinate until
the second spring [9]. Warm, moist stratification for 60 days followed
by long periods (120 days) of cold temperatures increases germination
[5,9]. Chemical or mechanical scarification can also promote
germination. Results of specific germination tests are as follows [9]:

test conditions germ. energy germ.
light duration amount period capacity

8 hrs. 60 days 14-45% 15-20 days 35 %

Seedling establishment: Adequate soil moisture is necessary for
successful establishment and growth of flowering dogwood seedlings [44].
Seedling survival is generally best on moist, rich, well-drained soils
[56] and at stand margins [65].

Vegetative regeneration: Flowering dogwood often sprouts vigorously
after plants are cut or burned. Plants sprout best after winter
fellings; those cut in midsummer produce the fewest stump sprouts
[31,65] [see Management Considerations - mechanical treatment]. Greater
sprout height growth has been correlated with increasing stump diameter
[65]. An increase of 0.3 feet (9 cm) has been reported for every 1 inch
(2.5 cm) increase in stump diameter.

Sprouting from the root crown has been reported after fire. Multiple
stems commonly develop from a single surviving root crown [33].
Flowering dogwood also reproduces through layering [65]. Epicormic
branching has been reported [28].
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Tirmenstein, D. A. 1991. Cornus florida. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Successional Status

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More info for the terms: climax, forest, hardwood, seed, tree

Flowering dogwood is very tolerant of shade and is capable of persisting
beneath a forest canopy [65]. Although it commonly grows as a
suppressed understory tree, it is also important in gap closure and
grows in several strata in stands with a multicanopied structure [93].
Flowering dogwood is physiologically plastic [93] and can also occupy
seral communities such as certain clearcuts and oldfield communities
[3,64]. It also grows in seral, fire-maintained sandhill communities
[67]. McDonnell [64] observed that flowering dogwood was absent until
the third year after fields were abandoned but continued to invade
through the twelfth year of the study. Scattered patches of flowering
dogwood are common in young fields [64]. Because seed is primarily
bird-dispersed, seedling concentrations often occur beneath powerlines
and poles.

Flowering dogwood occurs in climax magnolia-beech, magnolia-holly
hammock communities, and southern mixed hardwood stands in the South
[26,67,75]. It is present in old-growth white oak forests of
southwestern Pennsylvania and in old-growth beech-oak stands of South
Carolina [47]. In parts of the South, flowering dogwood commonly grows
in pine stands which are seral to climax hardwood forests [28].
Billings [7] reported that it commonly appears when shortleaf pine
stands are 40 to 50 years old. Flowering dogwood is typically an
important transitional species as pine is replaced by hardwoods in
southern mixed hardwood forests, but has been slow to reinvade these
types of stands in central Florida [41].
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Tirmenstein, D. A. 1991. Cornus florida. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Taxonomy

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Flowering dogwood is a member of the subgenus Cynoxylon within the
family Cornaceae [27,61]. The currently accepted scientific name is
Cornus florida L. [49]. Earlier taxonomists recognized several
subspecies or varieties, but most are no longer accepted. The following
varieties are currently recognized by many authorities [60,65]:

Cornus florida var. urbiniana Wang.
Cornus florida var. florida
Cornus florida var. pringlei

These varieties are distinguished primarily on the basis of differences
in floral and vegetative morphology. Several forms, including those
with pink or yellow flowers and red or yellow fruit, have been
identified [24,61]. Commonly recognized forms are as follows [79]:

Cornus florida f. rubra (Weston) Palmer & Steyeim.
Cornus florida f. xanthocarpa Rehder
Cornus florida f. pendula (Dipp.) Schelle
Cornus florida f. pluribracteata Rehder

Flowering dogwood is not known to hybridize with any other species [65].
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Tirmenstein, D. A. 1991. Cornus florida. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites

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More info for the terms: hardwood, layering, seed, softwood

Flowering has been planted on strip-mined lands in Indiana [10] and
grows as volunteers on surface-mined lands in Missouri, Kansas, and
Oklahoma [92].

Flowering dogwood can be propagated by seed, root cuttings, layering,
and grafting [9,31]. Seed may be planted immediately or stratified for
spring plantings [9]. Cleaned seed averages approximately 4,500 per
pound (9,920/kg) [65]. Summer softwood cuttings, winter hardwood
cuttings, grafts, suckers, and budding can be used to propagate
flowering dogwood [65]. Flowering dogwood can be difficult to
transplant [91]. Seedlings with a root ball are preferred over bareroot
transplants; plants at the beginning of the third growing season are
generally best suited for transplanting [65].
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Tirmenstein, D. A. 1991. Cornus florida. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Wood Products Value

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The brownish wood of flowering dogwood is hard, strong, heavy, fine
grained, and shock resistant [9,22,61,87]. It was formerly used for
shuttles in the textile industry, and has also been used for tool
handles, charcoal, wheel cogs, mauls, hay forks, and pulleys [61]. The
wood is occasionally used to make specialty items such as golf club
heads, turnery, roller-skate wheels, jeweler's blocks, knitting needles,
and woodcut blocks [9,61,87].
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Tirmenstein, D. A. 1991. Cornus florida. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Comprehensive Description

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Cornus florida L. Sp. PI. 117. 1753
Benlhamidia florida Spach, Hist. Veg. 8: 107. 1839.
Cynoxylon floridum Britt. & Shaf. N. Am. Trees 744. 1908.
Benthamia florida Nakai, Bot. Mag. Tokyo 23: 41. 1909. (Nomen nudum.)
vSmall trees, or sometimes shrubs; branchlets green or red, minutely strigillose, becoming grey, the pith brown; bark of the trunk grey, fissured in roughly rectangular blocks; leaf-blades commonly 5-8 cm. long, 2-4 cm. broad (sometimes up to 12 cm. long, 6.5 cm. broad), ovate to elliptic or obovate, abruptly acuminate, cuneate and often asymmetric at the base, strigillose on both surfaces and paler beneath and somewhat villose along the midrib and veins especially when young; veins 4-6 on either side of the midrib, usually 4 arising from its basal half; petioles commonly about 1 cm. long, occasionally to 2 cm. ; inflorescence appearing in autumn, the subtending cataphylls narrowly lanceolate, ferruginous ventrally with a hoary-strigillose tip, the lower pair deciduous with the foliage (except sometimes in western plants), the upper persisting through the winter; bracts of the involucre 4, at anthesis commonly 3-15 cm. long, 2.5-4.5 cm. broad, white, parallel-veined, obcordate, the retuse apex callose, minutely pubescent dorsally especially at base and apex; flowers yellowish, 20-30 in a cluster 1—1.5 cm. across, subtended by an inner ring of obtuse bracts (? prophylls) each about 1 mm. long and broad; hypanthium 2.5 mm. high, canescent; calyx 2 mm. high, campanulate, the sepals united about half their length; petals 3.5 mm. long, revolute; style 2-2.5 mm. long; drupe red (drying black), about 1.5 cm. long, 0.S cm. broad, ellipsoid, crowned by the persistent calyx and style, usually 1-6 in a cluster, the endocarp about 1.0 cm. long, 0.5 cm. broad, smooth, acute.
Type locality: "Virginia."
Distribution: Southern Maine and southern Ontario to eastern Kansas, south to Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and eastern Texas.
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Albert Charles Smith, Mildred Esther Mathias, Lincoln Constance, Harold William Rickett. 1944-1945. UMBELLALES and CORNALES. North American flora. vol 28B. New York Botanical Garden, New York, NY
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Associated Forest Cover

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The wide geographical range of flowering dogwood, and the diverse soils on which it is found, is indicative of a large number of associated species. Dogwood is specifically mentioned in 22 of the 90 Society of American Foresters forest cover types (3). Cover types range from Jack Pine (Type 1) and Beech - Sugar Maple (Type 60) in the North to Longleaf Pine (Type 70) in the South. Common associates include white, red, and black oaks Quercus alba, Q. falcata, Q. velutina), yellow-poplar, sassafras (Sassafras albidum), persimmon (Diospyros virginiana), sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua), and longleaf, loblolly, shortleaf, slash, and Virginia pines (Pinus palustris, P. taeda, P, echinata, P. elliottii, and P. virginiana). A complete list of species found with dogwood would include a majority of the trees growing in the Eastern United States.

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Climate

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Precipitation within the range of flowering dogwood varies from 760 mm (30 in) in the North to 2030 mm (80 in) in the southern Appalachians. Warm season precipitation varies from about 510 mm (20 in) in southern Michigan to 860 mm (34 in) in northern Florida, and annual snowfall ranges from none in Florida to more than 127 cm (50 in) in the North (15). Average annual temperature is 21° C (70° F) in the South and 7° C (45° F) in the North, with temperature extremes of 46° to -34° C (115° to -30° F). Growing season ranges from 160 days in southern Michigan to more than 300 days in Florida (12).

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Damaging Agents

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Because of its thin bark, flowering dogwood is readily injured by fire. Its profuse sprouting ability may actually increase the number of stems in fire-damaged stands, however (12). Flooding also is detrimental to flowering dogwood.

Little is known of the pest status of insects associated with wild flowering dogwoods, but many insects have been identified attacking cultivated ornamentals. The dogwood borer (Synanthedon scitula) is a noteworthy pest of cultivated flowering dogwood. Other damaging insects include flatheaded borers (Chrysobothris azurea and Agrilus cephalicus), dogwood twig borer (Oberea tripunctata), the twig girdler (Oncideres cingulata), scurfy scale (Chionaspis lintneri), and dogwood scale (C. corni) (1). Dogwood club gall, a clublike swelling on small twigs, is caused by infestations of midge larvae (Resseliella clavula) and is a serious problem in some areas (10). The redhumped caterpillar (Schizura concinna), a tussock moth (Dasychira basiflava), io moth (Automeris io), and scarab beetles (Phyllophaga spp.) are among the numerous leaf feeders attacking dogwood (1). Introduced pests of flowering dogwood include the Japanese weevil (Pseudocneorhinus bifasciatus) and Asiatic oak weevil (Crytepistomus castaneus) (8).

Basal stem canker, caused by the fungus Phytophthora cactorum, may girdle the tree and is the most lethal disease. Target cankers (Nectria galligena) sometimes occur on the trunk and limbs, and Armillaria mellea has been found on dogwoods. Leafspot (Cercospora cornicola) attacks seedlings, and Meliodogyne incognita causes severe root galling, associated with dieback and premature leaf fall in seedlings. Twig blight, caused by the fungus Myxosporium nitidum, may cause dieback of small twigs. Leaf spots and dieback of flowers are caused by Botrytis cinerea, Elsinoe corni, and Septoria cornicola, while Ascochyta cornicola may result in shrivelling and blackening of the leaves (7). Verticillium wilt (Verticillium albo-atrum) attacks dogwood (15), and the cherry leafroll, tobacco ringspot, and tomato ringspot viruses have been isolated from dogwood leaves (13).

Noninfectious diseases include sunscald, mechanical and drought injury, and freezing. Dogwood reproduction is often browsed heavily by deer and rabbits.

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Flowering and Fruiting

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Flowering dogwood has many crowded, small, yellowish perfect flowers, borne in terminal clusters in the spring before the leaves appear, and surrounded by four snow-white, petal-like bracts. The bracts form "flowers" 5 to 10 cm (2 to 4 in) across and provide a spectacular display in the springtime. Occasionally, trees with salmon-colored or light-pink bracts are found in nature. Pink and red flowering dogwoods and other cultivars with special ornamental characteristics are commonly propagated from clones by commercial nurseries. Dates of flowering range from mid-March in the South to late May in the North.

The clustered fruits of flowering dogwood are bright red drupes about 13 mm. (0.5 in) long and 6 mm (0.25 in) in diameter with thin, mealy flesh. Each fruit contains a two-celled, usually two-seeded, bony stone. In many stones, only one seed is fully developed. The fruits ripen from September to late October (10). Trees grown from seed commonly flower and produce fruits when 6 years old. Flowers also have been observed on trees of sprout origin at 6 years, when stump diameter is 19 mm (0.75 in), and height is 1.2 m (4 ft).

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Genetics

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Near the northern limits of its range, flowering dogwood becomes a many-branched shrub (15). Other than this, little is known of population differences other than the tendency for fruit weights to decrease with decreasing latitude and increasing length of growing season (16).

More than 20 cultivars of flowering dogwood are sold commercially in the United States (17). Four clones of flowering dogwood most commonly propagated as ornamentals are Cornus florida f. pendula (Dipp.) Schelle, with pendulous branches, Cornus florida f. rubra (West.) Schelle, with red or pink involucral bracts, Cornus florida f. pluribracteata Rehder, with six to eight large and several small bracts on the inflorescence, and Cornus florida f. xanthocarpa Rehder, with yellow fruit. Another cultivar, called Welchii, has yellow and red variegated leaves and is offered commercially (17).

In addition to these clones, Cornus florida var. urbaniana, a variety found in the mountains of Nuevo León and Veracruz, Mexico, differs from the typical species by its grayer twigs and larger fruit (15).

Flowering dogwood is not known to hybridize with other species.

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Growth and Yield

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The maximum size obtained by a flowering dogwood is 16.8 in (55 ft) in height and 48 cm (19 in) in d.b.h. as recorded in the American Forestry Association's register of champion trees. Heights on good sites of 9 to 12 in (30 to 40 ft) are common, with ranges in d.b.h. of 20 to 40 cm (8 to 16 in). On poorer sites, d.b.h. of mature trees may range from only 8 to 20 cm (3 to 8 in). Near the northern limits of its range, dogwood is a many-branched shrub (15). Height growth in the southern Appalachians is reported to be fairly rapid for the first 20 to 30 years, but then it practically ceases. Individual plants may live for 125 years. Annual growth rings are usually 2 to 4 mm (0.06 to 0.15 in) wide (12).

Flowering dogwood seldom if ever grows in pure stands. Thus, because it is usually a small, understory tree, little or no information is available concerning growth and yield on a per-acre basis. Moreover, it is treated as a weed tree in timber stand improvement operations more often than it is grown for its commercial value. One estimate has indicated that yields of 12.6 m³/ha of boltwood (2 cords/acre) may be cut on good sites, but it takes 15 to 20 times the area to obtain half this amount in other locations (15). No estimates of the volume of flowering dogwood are available for the entire range of the species. One writer noted that in six Southern States, where production is concentrated, a volume of 2.82 million m³ (99.8 million ft³) in trees 12.7 cm (5 in) d.b.h. and larger was shown by inventories made between 1962 and 1971 (12). This indicates a supply of more than 2.55 million m³ (1 million cords) within the six States.

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Reaction to Competition

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Flowering dogwood is an understory species and is classed as very tolerant of shade. Maximum photosynthesis occurs at slightly less than one-third of full sunlight (15). It is tolerant of high temperatures. Soil moisture usually is the limiting factor. In Southern forests, dogwood leaves are often the first to wilt in dry weather. Continuing drought may cause leaves to fall and dieback of tops to occur.

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Rooting Habit

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The extensive root system of flowering dogwood is extremely shallow. This fact undoubtedly accounts for the susceptibility of this species to periods of drought.

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Seed Production and Dissemination

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Dogwood usually produces a good seed crop every other year, but seeds on isolated trees are frequently empty. Thus, seed collections should be made from groups of trees. In a Texas study, 88 percent or more of trees 9 cm (3.4 in) in d.b.h. and larger bore fruit each year. Year-to-year differences were more pronounced in the smaller diameter classes. Average fruit production was 185 kg/m² of basal area (37.9 lb/ft²) (9).

The yield of stones per kilogram of fruit ranges from 0.19 to 0.46 kg (19 to 46 lb/100 lb of fruit). The average number of cleaned stones per kilogram is 9,920 (4,500/lb). Clean, air-dried stones may be stored in sealed containers at 3° C (38° F) for 2 to 4 years (2). Birds and other animals are the primary agents of seed dissemination, although some seeds are scattered by gravity.

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Seedling Development

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Natural germination of flowering dogwood usually occurs in the spring following seedfall, but some seeds do not germinate until the second spring. Germination is epigeal. Stratification of freshly collected seed at 5° C (41° F) for periods up to 120 days is recommended for overcoming embryo dormancy (2).

Seedlings usually show rapid root growth. In one greenhouse study, an average 6-month-old seedling had 3,000 roots with a total length of 51.2 in (168 ft), compared to 800 roots with a total length of 3.7 in (12 ft) for loblolly pine (15).

This species grows nearly all summer but stops temporarily during periods of adverse conditions. In a Massachusetts nursery, flowering dogwood displayed a height growth pattern different from that of any other species studied. Seedlings grew from April 24 to September 4, and 90 percent of the growth occurred from May 15 to August 18. The most rapid growth occurred during the first week of August (10).

In a North Carolina Piedmont study, flowering dogwood seedlings were planted under three situations: (1) in an open field, (2) under pine stands, and (3) on the margins of pine stands. Survival was significantly higher on the margins of pine stands than on the other two sites, but there was no significant difference in survival between the open field and the pine forest. The intermediate light intensity of the margins apparently provided some advantage. Growth of seedlings was greater in the open than on the margin of the pine forest. Seedlings in the forest were smallest (15).

Transplanting flowering dogwood seedlings with a root ball is preferred over bare-root transplanting, although both methods can be successful (4). Plants entering their third year are well suited for planting in permanent locations. Plants of this age are usually 0.6 to 1 in (2 to 3 ft) tall and can be lifted easily without excessive disturbance of the root system.

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Soils and Topography

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The species grows on soils varying from deep and moist along minor streams to light textured and well drained in the uplands. It is found most frequently on soils with a pH of 6 to 7 (15). Dominant soil orders (with typical suborders in parentheses) in the range of flowering dogwood, in decreasing order of importance, include Ultisols (Udults and Aquults) in the South and East, Inceptisols (Ochrepts) in the Appalachians, Alfisols (Udalfs) in the Midwest, Spodosols (Orthods and Aquods) in New England and Florida, and Entisols (Psamments) in scattered areas of the Southeast (14). Seedling survival is low and the species is virtually absent on poorly drained clay soils. The frequency of flowering dogwood in forest stands increases as drainage improves and soils become lighter in texture.

Flowering dogwood grows well on flats and on lower or middle slopes, but not very well on upper slopes and ridges. The inability to grow on extremely dry sites is attributed to its relatively shallow root system. It is one of the most numerous species in the understory of loblolly pine and loblolly pine-hardwood stands in the South. As these stands progress toward the hardwood climax, dogwood remains an important subordinate species.

Flowering dogwood is considered a soil improver (7). Its leaf litter decomposes more rapidly than that of most other species, thus making its mineral constituents more readily available. Dogwood foliage decomposes three times faster than hickory (Carya spp.); four times faster than yellow-poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera), eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana), and white ash (Fraxinus americana); and 10 times faster than sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) and oak (Quercus spp.) (15). In addition to its rapid decomposition, dogwood litter is an important source of calcium, containing 2.0 to 3.5 percent of this element on an oven-dry basis. The range of major mineral elements, in milligrams per kilogram of foliage (parts per million), is as follows: potassium, 4,000 to 11,000; phosphorus, 1,800 to 3,200; calcium, 27,000 to 42,000; magnesium, 3,000 to 5,000; and sulfur, 3,800 to 7,000. The range of minor elements, in mg/kg (p/m), is boron, 23; copper, 7 to 9; iron, 240 to 380; manganese, 30 to 50; and zinc, 3 to 28 (15).

Dogwood leaves concentrate fluorine and may contain 40 mg/kg (p/m) compared to only 8 mg/kg (p/m) for apple (Malus spp.) and peach (Prunus spp.) leaves grown under similar conditions. In one study, fluorine increased from 72 mg/kg (p/m) in June to 103 mg/kg (p/m) in October, while that of black cherry (Prunus serotina) increased from 5.6 to 11.3 mg/kg (p/m) (15).

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Special Uses

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Flowering dogwoods are extremely valuable for wildlife because the seed, fruit, flowers, twigs, bark, and leaves are utilized as food by various animals. The most distinguishing quality of dogwood is its high calcium and fat content (5). Fruits have been recorded as food eaten by at least 36 species of birds, including ruffed grouse, bob-white quail, and wild turkey. Chipmunks, foxes, skunks, rabbits, deer, beaver, black bears, and squirrels, in addition to other mammals, also eat dogwood fruits. Foliage and twigs are browsed heavily by deer and rabbits. The quality of browse may be improved by controlled burns in the spring, which increase the protein and phosphoric acid content.

Flowering dogwood also is a favored ornamental species. It is highly regarded for landscaping and urban forestry purposes.

Virtually all the dogwood harvested was used in the manufacture of shuttles for textile weaving, but plastic shuttles have rapidly replaced this use. Small amounts of dogwood are used for other articles requiring a hard, close-textured, smooth wood capable of withstanding rough use. Examples are spools, small pulleys, malletheads, jewelers' blocks, and turnpins for shaping the ends of lead pipes (12).

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Vegetative Reproduction

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Flowering dogwood reproduces by sprouting and sprouts most profusely when cut in late winter. Height growth of sprouts is known to increase with increasing stump diameter. The species also reproduces extensively by layering. Other means of vegetative propagation include softwood cuttings in summer, hardwood cuttings in winter, grafting in winter or spring, suckers and divisions in spring, and budding in the summer. Vegetative reproduction is necessary to propagate plants for characteristics such as fruit retention and color of bracts and fruit.

Flowering dogwood roots readily from cuttings taken in June or immediately after the plants bloom. Cuttings from young trees usually show better growth and survival after rooting than cuttings from mature trees. Only terminal shoot tips trimmed to about 8 cm (3 in) in length and retaining two to four leaves should be used. Bases of cuttings should be dipped in a mixture of indolebutyric acid crystals and talc, one part acid crystals to 250 parts talc by weight (10). Cuttings are then set about 3 cm (1.2 in) deep in the rooting medium and grown under a mist with a photoperiod of at least 18 hours.

The red form of flowering dogwood is difficult to start from cuttings and usually is propagated by budding in late summer or grafting in winter (6).

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Distribution

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The range of flowering dogwood extends from extreme southwestern Maine west to New York, extreme southern Ontario, central Michigan, central Illinois, and central Missouri; south to extreme southeast Kansas, eastern Oklahoma, east Texas; and east to north Florida. A variety also grows in the mountains of Nuevo León and Veracruz, Mexico (11).


-The native range of flowering dogwood.


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Brief Summary

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Cornaceae -- Dogwood family

B. F. McLemore

Flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) 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.

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Cornus florida

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Cornus florida, the flowering dogwood, is a species of flowering tree in the family Cornaceae native to eastern North America and northern Mexico. An endemic population once spanned from southernmost coastal Maine south to northern Florida and west to the Mississippi River.[4] The tree is commonly planted as an ornamental in residential and public areas because of its showy bracts and interesting bark structure.

Classification

The flowering dogwood is usually included in the dogwood genus Cornus as Cornus florida L., although it is sometimes treated in a separate genus as Benthamidia florida (L.) Spach. Less common names for C. florida include American dogwood, Florida dogwood, Indian arrowwood, Cornelian tree, white cornel, white dogwood, false box, and false boxwood.

Two subspecies are generally recognized:

Description

Flowering dogwood is a small deciduous tree growing to 10 m (33 ft) high, often wider than it is tall when mature, with a trunk diameter of up to 30 cm (1 ft). A 10-year-old tree will stand about 5 m (16 ft) tall. The leaves are opposite, simple, ovate, 6–13 cm (2.4–5.1 in) long and 4–6 cm (1.6–2.4 in) broad, with an apparently entire margin (actually very finely toothed, under a lens); they turn a rich red-brown in fall.

Flowering dogwood attains its greatest size and growth potential in the Upper South, sometimes up to 40 feet in height. At the northern end of its range, heights of 30–33 feet are more typical. Hot, humid summer weather is necessary for new growth to harden off in the fall.

The maximum lifespan of C. florida is about 80 years.[5]

The flowers are individually small and inconspicuous, with four greenish-yellow bracts 4 mm (0.16 in) long. Around 20 flowers are produced in a dense, rounded, umbel-shaped inflorescence, or flower-head, 1–2 cm (0.39–0.79 in) in diameter. The flower-head is surrounded by four conspicuous large white, pink or red "petals" (actually bracts), each bract 3 cm (1.2 in) long and 2.5 cm (0.98 in) broad, rounded, and often with a distinct notch at the apex. The flowers are hermaphroditic ("perfect flowers") .

When in the wild they can typically be found at the forest edge and frequently on dry ridges. 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 separate drupes, (fused in Cornus kousa), each 10–15 mm (0.39–0.59 in) long and about 8 mm (0.31 in) 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. They are also a larval host plant for several moth varieties, including Eudeilinia herminiata, the dogwood thyatirid moth, Antispila cornifoliella, the stinging rose moth, the grand arches moth,[6] the pecan bark borer,[7] the dogwood borer,[8] the rosaceaous leaf roller, the diamondback epinotia moth, spring azures,[9] cecropia moths,[10] and the Io moth. While not poisonous to humans, the fruit is extremely sour and unpleasant-tasting. Flowering dogwood is monoecious, meaning the tree has both male and female flowers, and all trees will produce fruit.

Cultivation

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. The hardiness zone is 5–9 and the preferred pH is between 6.0 and 7.0.[11] 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.[11]:98–100 The common flowering dogwood has been placed on the endangered species list in Ontario.[12][13][14] 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 5 to 10 cm (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.[15]

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Pink variety flower clusters

Flowering dogwood is grown widely throughout the temperate world.

Selected cultivars[16]
  • '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.[17]
  • '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.

Propagation

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Foliage during autumn
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Dogwood trees in Nagano, Japan

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 (39 °F).[11]:100–102[18] 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.[19]

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Tree in the wild in autumn

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 (32 and 45 °F). 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.[18][11]:102

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 μmol/L 6-Benzyladenine (BA) to promote shoot growth.[20] Rooting of up to 83% can be obtained when 5–7 week-old microshoots are then transferred to WPM amended with 4.9 μmol/L IBA.[21]

Historical uses

Native Americans used the bark and roots in a remedy for malaria; a red dye was also extracted from the roots.[22] The species has been used in the production of inks, scarlet dyes, and as a quinine substitute. The hard, dense wood has been used for products such as golf club heads, mallets, wooden rake teeth, tool handles, jeweler's boxes and butcher's blocks.[23][11]:100 Cornus florida is the state tree and flower of Virginia,[24] the state tree of Missouri, and state flower of North Carolina.[25][26] It was used to treat dogs with mange, which may be how it got its name.[26] The red berries are not edible, despite some rumors otherwise.[27]

In 1915, forty dogwood saplings were donated by U.S. to Japan in the 1912-15 exchange of flowers between Tokyo and Washington, D.C. While the cherry blossom trees survived the ensuing sour relations of these two countries and are the main feature of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, all dogwood trees in Tokyo died except the one that had been planted in an agriculture high school. In 2012, the United States sent 3,000 dogwood saplings to Japan to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the Washington D.C. cherry trees given as a gift to the U.S. by Japan in 1912.[28]

References

  1. ^ Stritch, L. (2018). "Cornus florida". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2018: e.T61990536A61990538. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-2.RLTS.T61990536A61990538.en. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  2. ^ "NatureServe Explorer". Retrieved May 6, 2021.
  3. ^ "Cornus florida L." The Plant List.
  4. ^ "Cornus florida County distribution map". The Biota of North America Program. 2014.
  5. ^ "Flowering Dogwood". Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  6. ^ "Lacanobis grandis species information". bugguide.net.
  7. ^ "Species Synanthedon geliformis - Pecan Bark Borer - Hodges#2547". bugguide.net.
  8. ^ "Species Synanthedon scitula - Dogwood Borer - Hodges#2549". bugguide.net.
  9. ^ Adelman, Lauren (July 5, 2017). "The Joy of Butterfly Host Plants". Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens. Retrieved April 26, 2020.
  10. ^ Adelman, Lauren (July 5, 2017). "The Joy of Butterfly Host Plants". Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens. Retrieved April 26, 2020.
  11. ^ a b c d e Cappiello P, Shadow D (2005). Dogwoods: The Genus Cornus.. Portland: Timber Press.
  12. ^ "Eastern flowering dogwood". Species at Risk. Government of Ontario. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
  13. ^ "Species Profile (Eastern Flowering Dogwood) - Species at Risk Public Registry". www.registrelep-sararegistry.gc.ca. Government of Canada, Environment. Archived from the original on June 5, 2017. Retrieved April 23, 2017.
  14. ^ "USDA Plants Database" (PDF).
  15. ^ Anderson RL, Knighten JL, Windham M, Langdon K, Hendrix F, Roncadori R (1994). "Dogwood anthracnose and its spread in the South" (PDF). Project Report R8-PR 26. Atlanta, GA: USDA Forest Service. p. 10.
  16. ^ Nowicki M, Boggess SL, Saxton AM, Hadziabdic D, Xiang QJ, Molnar T, Huff ML, Staton ME, Zhao Y, Trigiano RN (October 23, 2018). Heinze B (ed.). "Haplotyping of Cornus florida and C. kousa chloroplasts: Insights into species-level differences and patterns of plastic DNA variation in cultivars". PLOS ONE. 13 (10): e0205407. Bibcode:2018PLoSO..1305407N. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0205407. PMC 6198962. PMID 30352068.
  17. ^ "Cornus florida 'Cherokee Chief'". RHS Plant Selector. The Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
  18. ^ a b 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.
  19. ^ Reed SM (2004). "Self-incompatibility in Cornus florida". HortScience. 39 (2): 335–338. doi:10.21273/HORTSCI.39.2.335.
  20. ^ Kaveriappa KM, Phillips LM, Trigiano RN (April 1997). "Micropropagation of flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) from seedlings". Plant Cell Reports. 16 (7): 485–489. doi:10.1007/BF01092771. PMID 30727637. S2CID 40422365.
  21. ^ Sharma AR, Trigiano RN, Witte WT, Schwarz OJ (January 2005). "In vitro adventitious rooting of Cornus florida microshoots". Scientia Horticulturae. 103 (3): 381–5. doi:10.1016/j.scienta.2004.06.014.
  22. ^ Little, Elbert L. (1980). The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees: Eastern Region. New York: Knopf. p. 616. ISBN 0-394-50760-6.
  23. ^ Petrides GA (1972). A field guide to trees and shrubs; field marks of all trees, shrubs, and woody vines that grow wild in the northeastern and north-central United States and in southeastern and south-central Canada. The Peterson field guide series. 11. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. p. 106.
  24. ^ "White Dogwood". Virginia Department of Forestry. Archived from the original on December 7, 2011. Retrieved April 7, 2012.
  25. ^ "Cornus florida". Missouri Botanical Garden. Retrieved April 7, 2012.
  26. ^ a b "State Flower--Dogwood" (PDF). North Carolina Museum of History. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 20, 2012. Retrieved April 7, 2012.
  27. ^ "Dogwood Tree - Beautiful Flowers, Unique Fruits". Eat The Planet. January 11, 2017. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  28. ^ "U.S. eyes 3,000 dogwoods for 'sakura' anniversary. The Japan Times. Posted: Jan. 17, 2012". Japantimes.co.jp. January 17, 2012. Retrieved March 28, 2014.

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Cornus florida: Brief Summary

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Cornus florida, the flowering dogwood, is a species of flowering tree in the family Cornaceae native to eastern North America and northern Mexico. An endemic population once spanned from southernmost coastal Maine south to northern Florida and west to the Mississippi River. The tree is commonly planted as an ornamental in residential and public areas because of its showy bracts and interesting bark structure.

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