Gardeners everywhere favor dogwood trees for their manageable size, pretty spring blossoms and full foliage. A dogwood's flowers are usually white, but a variety of colors give the different types their names. A versatile tree, the dogwood works well bordering lawns, beneath taller trees and decorating a patio.
Some tree experts surmise that the term "dogwood" came from an older English word "dagwood," suggesting a tree whose smaller branches were carved for daggers. The more modern, "dogwood" appeared in 1614 derived from the recent phrase "dog-tree" (1548). Officially, the dogwood is from the family Cornaceae and the genus Cornus.
The dogwood tree's spring blossoms are known as "bracts," and people choose the type based on those flowers. The dogwood shrub is differentiated by its various leaf shapes, sizes and colors. Below is a short list of popular types of dogwood trees.
Flowering Dogwood: The official tree for three states, this is the most popular type in the US. Many wildlife get food from the Flowering Dogwood tree's leaves, bark, twigs and more.
Pagoda Dogwood: Native to North America, this type displays white bracts and small, black or blue berries in spring.
Giant Dogwood: Tolerant to urban soil, this type is a fast-growing tree with snowy white spring flowers.
Cornelian Cherry: This type prefers shade, displays yellow bracts in very early spring and sprouts red, edible fruit.
Grey Dogwood: Creamy white flowers, a long blooming period (May to July), the formation of a white fruit and a resistance to air pollution distinguish this type.
Kousa Dogwood: Closely related to the Flowering Dogwood tree, this type is also called the Japanese Flowering Dogwood tree.
Pink Dogwood: Pink spring flowers and red fall leaves make this type a visual favorite.
Red Dogwood: This disease resistant tree grows almost anywhere, and its red and pink bracts bloom long past other types are spent.