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The Dogwood (Cornus florida) is a true North Carolina native. The early spring bloom of the flowering dogwood tree is the official state flower of North Carolina. A favorite tree for many gardeners because it has something to offer in every season. The natural environment of the dogwood is an understory tree, meaning it does best in the filtered light of larger hardwood or pine trees.

While Cornus florida is an excellent native species selection, there are many other species of dogwoods that perform well and offer a wide array of size and blooms options.

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Cornus florida

The traditional flower dogwood is native to NC and most commonly found in the area. It blooms in the early spring before the leaves emerge.

  • Typical Size: 20’ H x 15’ W
  • Care Instructions: Full sun if planted in deep fertile soil otherwise light shade
  • Popular cultivars: Cherokee Fire, Cherokee Princess, Cherokee Brave, var. Rubra, Appalachian var.

Corunus kousa

This is certainly one of the most beautiful flowering trees, due to it’s large leaves and large blooms.

Unlike Cornus florida, Cornus kousa blooms after the leaves emerge and then produces an interesting red fruit similar in appearance to a raspberry.

  • Typical Size: 25’ H x 15’ W
  • Care Instructions: Part shade
  • Cultivars:  Greensleeves, Stellar Pink, Satomi, Milky Way, Venus, Wolf Eyes, Temple Jewel, National and more

Other Dogwood species worth noting are those known more for their stem color than foliage or flowers.  Red Twig and Yellow Twig Dogwoods are beautiful shrubby varieties of dogwood with striking foliage.  In the winter the twigs have a nice bright red or yellow color.

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