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Cornus - Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.


Cornus is a genus of about 30–60 species[Note 1] of woody plants
in the family Cornaceae, commonly known as dogwoods, which
can generally be distinguished by their blossoms, berries, and Temporal range: Late
distinctive bark.[3] Most are deciduous trees or shrubs, but a few Campanian–Holocene, 73–0 Ma
species are nearly herbaceous perennial subshrubs, and a few of [1]

the woody species are evergreen. Several species have small heads
PreЄ Є O S D C P T J K PgN
of inconspicuous flowers surrounded by an involucre of large,
typically white petal-like bracts, while others have more open
clusters of petal-bearing flowers. e various species of dogwood
are native throughout much of temperate and boreal Eurasia and
North America, with China and Japan and the southeastern
United States particularly rich in native species.

Species include the common dogwood Cornus sanguinea of

Eurasia, the widely cultivated flowering dogwood (Cornus florida)
of eastern North America, the Pacific dogwood Cornus nuallii of
western North America, the Kousa dogwood Cornus kousa of Cornus kousa var. chinensis
eastern Asia, and two low-growing boreal species, the Canadian
and Eurasian dwarf cornels (or bunchberries), Cornus canadensis Scientific classification
and Cornus suecica respectively. Kingdom: Plantae

Depending on botanical interpretation, the dogwoods are Clade: Angiosperms

variously divided into one to nine genera or subgenera; a broadly Clade: Eudicots
inclusive genus Cornus is accepted here.
Clade: Asterids
Order: Cornales

Contents Family: Cornaceae

Terminology Genus: Cornus

Characteristics L.

Uses Type species

Fruits Cornus mas
Wood L.
Traditional medicine
Blue- or white-fruited dogwoods Afrocrania
Cornelian cherries
Big-bracted dogwoods
Dwarf dogwoods Cornus

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Incertae sedis (unplaced) Cynoxylon

Horticultural hybrids Discocrania
Cultural references
External links Syncarpea

e name "dog-tree" entered the English vocabulary before 1548,
becoming "dogwood" by 1614. Once the name dogwood was affixed
to this kind of tree, it soon acquired a secondary name as the
Hound's Tree, while the fruits came to be known as dogberries or
houndberries (the laer a name also for the berries of black
nightshade, alluding to Hecate's hounds). Another theory advances
the view that "dogwood" was derived from the Old English In species such as this Cornus
dagwood, from the use of the slender stems of its very hard wood × unalaschkensis, the tiny four-
petaled flowers are clustered in
for making "dags" (daggers, skewers, and arrows).[4][5] Another,
a tightly packed, flattened
earlier name of the dogwood in English is the whipple-tree.
cyme at the center of four
Geoffrey Chaucer uses "whippletree" in e Canterbury Tales ("e showy white petal-like bracts.
Knight's Tale", verse 2065) to refer to the dogwood. A whippletree is
also an element of the traction of a horse-drawn cart, linking the
drawpole of the cart to the harnesses of the horses in file; these items
still bear the name of the tree from which they are commonly carved.

Dogwoods have simple, untoothed leaves with the veins curving
distinctively as they approach the leaf margins. Most dogwood
species have opposite leaves, while a few, such as Cornus alternifolia
and C. controversa, have their leaves alternate. Dogwood flowers Cornus mas
have four parts. In many species, the flowers are borne separately in
open (but oen dense) clusters, while in various other species (such
as the flowering dogwood), the flowers themselves are tightly clustered, lacking showy petals, but surrounded by
four to six large, typically white petal-like bracts.

e fruits of all dogwood species are drupes with one or two seeds, oen brightly colorful. e drupes of species in
the subgenera Cornus are edible. Many are without much flavor. Cornus kousa and Cornus mas are sold
commercially as edible fruit trees. e fruits of Cornus kousa have a sweet, tropical pudding like flavor in addition
to hard pits. e fruits of Cornus mas are both tart and sweet when completely ripe. ey have been eaten in
Eastern Europe for centuries, both as food and medicine to fight colds and flus. ey are very high in vitamin C.
However, those of species in subgenus Swida are mildly toxic to people, though readily eaten by birds.

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Dogwoods are used as food plants by the larvae of some species of

buerflies and moths, including the Emperor moth, the Engrailed,
the small angle shades, and the following case-bearers of the genus
Coleophora: C. ahenella, C. salicivorella (recorded on Cornus
canadensis), C. albiantennaella, C. cornella and C. cornivorella, with
the laer three all feeding exclusively on Cornus.

Cornus florida in spring
Dogwoods are widely planted horticulturally, and the dense wood of
the larger-stemmed species is valued for certain specialized
purposes. Cuing boards and other fine turnings can be made from
this fine grained and beautiful wood. Over 32 different varieties of
game birds, including quail, feed on the red seeds.[6]

Various species of Cornus, particularly the flowering dogwood
(Cornus florida), are ubiquitous in American gardens and
landscaping; horticulturist Donald Wyman stated, "ere is a
Cornus drummondii in flower
dogwood for almost every part of the U.S. except the hoest and
driest areas".[7] In contrast, in England the lack of sharp winters and
hot summers makes Cornus florida very shy of flowering.[8]

Other Cornus species are stoloniferous shrubs that grow naturally in

wet habitats and along waterways. Several of these are used along
highways and in naturalizing landscape plantings, especially those
species with bright red or bright yellow stems, particularly
conspicuous in winter, such as Cornus stolonifera.

e following cultivars, of mixed or uncertain origin, have gained

the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit (confirmed Mature and immature flowers of
2017):-[9] Cornus canadensis, Bonnechere
Provincial Park, Ontario
’Eddie’s White Wonder’[10]
’Norman Hadden’[11]

e species Cornus mas is commonly cultivated in southeastern
Europe for its showy, edible berries, that have the color of the
carnelian gemstone. Cornelian-cherries have one seed each and are
used in syrups and preserves.[14] Cornus canadensis fruit

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Dense and fine-grained, dogwood timber has a density of 0.79 and is
highly prized for making loom shules, tool handles, roller skates
and other small items that require a very hard and strong wood.[15]
ough it is tough for woodworking, some artisans favor dogwood
for small projects such as walking canes, arrow making, mountain
dulcimers and fine inlays. Dogwood wood is an excellent substitute
for persimmon wood in the heads of certain golf clubs ("woods").
Dogwood lumber is rare in that it is not readily available with any Cherokee Princess dogwood
manufacturer and must be cut down by the person(s) wanting to use

Larger items have also been occasionally made of dogwood, such as the screw-in basket-style wine or fruit presses.
e first kinds of laminated tennis rackets were also made from this wood, cut into thin strips.

Dogwood twigs were used by pioneers to brush their teeth. ey would peel off the bark, bite the twig and then
scrub their teeth.[16]

Traditional medicine
e bark of Cornus species is rich in tannins and has been used in traditional medicine as a substitute for
quinine.[17] During the American civil war confederate soldiers would make a tea from the bark to treat pain and
fevers, and dogwood leaves in a poultice to cover wounds.[18]

e Japanese cornel, C. officinalis, is used extensively in traditional Chinese medicine as "shān zhū yú" for several
minor ailments.[19]

e following classification recognizes a single, inclusive genus Cornus,[20][21] with four subgroups and ten
subgenera supported by molecular phylogeny.[22][23] Geographical ranges as native plants are given below. In
addition, cultivated species occasionally persist or spread from plantings beyond their native ranges, but are rarely
if ever locally invasive.

Blue- or white-fruited dogwoods

Paniculate or corymbose cymes; bracts minute, nonmodified; fruits globose or subglobose, white, blue, or black:

Subgenus Yinquania. Leaves opposite to subopposite; fall blooming.

Cornus oblonga.
Cornus peruviana. Costa Rica and Venezuela to Bolivia.[24][25]
Subgenus Kraniopsis. Leaves opposite; summer blooming.

Cornus alba[Note 2] (Siberian dogwood). Siberia and northern China.

Cornus amomum[Note 3] (silky dogwood). Eastern U.S. east of the Great Plains except
for the Deep South.

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Cornus asperifolia (toughleaf dogwood). Southeastern U.S.

Cornus austrosinensis (South China dogwood). East Asia.
Cornus bretschneideri (Bretschneider's dogwood). Northern China.
Cornus coreana (Korean dogwood). Northeast Asia.
Cornus drummondii (roughleaf dogwood). U.S. between the Appalachia and the Great
Plains, and southern Ontario, Canada.
Cornus excelsa.
Cornus foemina (stiff dogwood) Southeastern and southern United States.
Cornus glabrata (brown dogwood or smooth dogwood). Western North America.
Cornus hemsleyi (Hemsley's dogwood). Southwest China.
Cornus koehneana (Koehne's dogwood). Southwest China.
Cornus macrophylla (large-leafed dogwood; Chinese: 梜�; pinyin: jiáliáng or jiàliáng).
East Asia.
Cornus obliqua[Note 4] (pale dogwood). Northeastern and central U.S., and southeastern
Cornus paucinervis. China.
Cornus racemosa (northern swamp dogwood or gray dogwood). Northeastern and
central U.S., and extreme southeastern Canada.
Cornus rugosa (round-leaf dogwood). Northeastern and north-central U.S., and
southeastern Canada.
Cornus sanguinea (common dogwood). Europe.
Cornus sericea[Note 5] (red osier dogwood). Northern and western North America,
except Arctic regions.
Cornus walteri (Walter's dogwood). Central China.
Cornus wilsoniana (Wilson's dogwood). Central China.
Cornus × arnoldiana (Hybrid: C. obliqua × C. racemosa). Eastern North America.
Subgenus Mesomora. Leaves alternate; summer blooming.

Cornus alternifolia (pagoda dogwood or alternate-leaf dogwood). Eastern U.S. and

southeastern Canada.
Cornus controversa (table dogwood). East Asia.

Cornelian cherries
Umbellate cymes; bracts modified, non-petaloid; fruits oblong, red; stone walls filled with cavities:

Subgenus Afrocrania. Dioecious, bracts 4.

Cornus volkensii.
Subgenus Cornus. Plants hermaphroditic, bracts 4 or 6

Cornus eydeana.
Cornus mas (European cornel or Cornelian-cherry). Mediterranean.
Cornus officinalis (Japanese cornel). China, Japan, Korea.
†Cornus piggae (Late Paleocene, North Dakota)[26]
Cornus sessilis (blackfruit cornel). California.
Subgenus Sinocornus. Plants hermaphroditic, bracts 4 or 6

Cornus chinensis (Chinese cornel). China.

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Big-bracted dogwoods
Capitular cymes:

Subgenus Discocrania. Bracts 4, modified, non-petaloid; fruits oblong, red.

Cornus disciflora.
Subgenus Cynoxylon. Bracts 4 or 6, large and petaloid, fruits oblong, red.

Cornus florida (flowering dogwood). U.S. east of the Great Plains, north to southern
Cornus nuttallii (Pacific dogwood). Western North America, from British Columbia to
Subgenus Syncarpea. Bracts 4, large and petaloid, fruits red, fused into a compound
multi-stoned berry.

Cornus capitata (Himalayan flowering dogwood). Himalaya.

Cornus elliptica
Cornus hongkongensis (Hong Kong dogwood). Southern China, Laos, Vietnam.
Cornus kousa (Kousa dogwood). Japan and (as subsp. chinensis) central and northern
Cornus multinervosa.

Dwarf dogwoods
Minute corymbose cymes; bracts 4, petaloid; fruit globose, red; rhizomatous herb:

Subgenus Arctocrania.

Cornus canadensis (Canadian dwarf cornel or bunchberry) Northern North America,

southward in the Appalachian and Rocky Mountains.
Cornus suecica (Eurasian dwarf cornel or bunchberry). Northern Eurasia, locally in
extreme northeast and northwest North America.
Cornus × unalaschkensis (Hybrid: C. canadensis × C. suecica). Aleutian Islands
(Alaska), Greenland, and Labrador and Newfoundland in Canada.

Incertae sedis (unplaced)

†Cornus clarnensis (Middle Eocene, Central Oregon)[27]

Horticultural hybrids
Cornus × rutgersensis (Hybrid: C. florida × C. kousa). Horticulturally developed.[28]

Cultural references
e inflorescence ("flower") of the Pacific dogwood (Cornus nuallii) is the official flower of the province of British
Columbia. e flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) and its inflorescence are the state tree and the state flower
respectively for the U.S. Commonwealth of Virginia. It is also the state tree of Missouri and the state flower of
North Carolina,[29] and the State Memorial Tree of New Jersey.[30]

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e poet Virgil makes reference to a haunted copse of cornel and myrtle in Book III of the Aeneid. e hero Aeneas
aempts to break off boughs to decorate an altar, but instead the wood drips with black blood.[31] Anne Morrow
Lindbergh gives a vivid description of the dogwood tree in her poem "Dogwood".[32]

A Christian legend of unknown origin proclaims that the cross used to crucify Jesus was constructed of
dogwood.[33] As the story goes, during the time of Jesus, the dogwood was larger and stronger than it is today and
was the largest tree in the area of Jerusalem. Aer his crucifixion, Jesus changed the plant to its current form: he
shortened it and twisted its branches to assure an end to its use for the construction of crosses.[34] He also
transformed its inflorescence into a representation of the crucifixion itself, with the four white bracts cross-shaped
representing the four corners of the cross, each bearing a rusty indentation as of a nail, the red stamens of the
flower representing Jesus' crown of thorns, and the clustered red fruit representing his blood.[35][36]

In the Victorian era, flowers or sprigs of dogwood were presented to unmarried women by male suitors to signify
affection. e returning of the flower conveyed indifference on the part of the woman; if she kept it, it became a
sign of mutual interest.

e term "dogwood winter", in colloquial use in the American Southeast, is sometimes used to describe a cold snap
in spring, presumably because farmers believed it was not safe to plant their crops until aer the dogwoods

Cornus is the ancient Latin word for the Cornelian cherry, Cornus mas. ‘Cornus’ means ‘horn’.[38]

1. 58 species according to Xiang et al. (2006)[2]
2. Cornus sericea, treated separately here, is sometimes included in a more broadly taken
concept of Cornus alba, which in that sense is also native in North America.
3. Cornus obliqua, here recognized separately, has been included in a broader concept of C.
amomum by some botanists. Canadian reports for C. amomum are apparently all based
on plants here classified as C. obliqua.
4. Cornus obliqua is sometimes included in a more broadly taken concept of C. amomum,
also in the eastern U.S.
5. Cornus sericea (including C. stolonifera) is sometimes itself included in a more broadly
taken concept of the otherwise Eurasian Cornus alba.

1. Atkinson, Brian A.; Stockey, Ruth A.; Rothwell, Gar W. (2016). "Cretaceous origin of
dogwoods: an anatomically preserved Cornus (Cornaceae) fruit from the Campanian of
Vancouver Island" ( PeerJ. 4: e2808.
doi:10.7717/peerj.2808 ( PMC 5180587
( . PMID 28028474

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2. Qiu-Yun (Jenny) Xiang; David T. Thomas; Wenheng Zhang; Steven R. Manchester & Zack
Murrell (2006). "Species level phylogeny of the genus Cornus (Cornaceae) based on
molecular and morphological evidence – implications for taxonomy and Tertiary
intercontinental migration". Taxon. 55 (1): 9–30. doi:10.2307/25065525 (
/10.2307/25065525). JSTOR 25065525 (
3. "Notable Characteristics of Dogwood Trees" (
notable-characteristics-of-dogwood-trees). Archived from the original
of-dogwood-trees) on August 26, 2014. Retrieved August 24, 2014.
4. Vedel, H., & Lange, J. (1960). Trees and Bushes in Wood and Hedgerow. Metheun & Co.
Ltd., London.
5. Fernald, Merritt Lyndon (1950). Gray's Manual of Botany (8th ed.). New York: American
Book Company.
6. "Wildlife Dogwood Trees" (
p/wld-dogwood.htm). Prepper Gardens. Retrieved January 8, 2013.
7. Wyman's Garden Encyclopedia, s.v. "Cornus"
8. Alice M. Coats, Garden Shrubs and their Histories (1964) 1992, s.v. "Cornus".
9. "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (
ornamentals.pdf) (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 16. Retrieved 24 January
10. "RHS Plantfinder - Cornus 'Eddie's White Wonder' " (
Cornus-i-Eddie-s-White-Wonder/Details). Retrieved 2 February 2018.
11. "RHS Plantfinder - Cornus 'Norman Hadden' " (
Cornus-i-Norman-Hadden/Details). Retrieved 2 February 2018.
12. "RHS Plantfinder - Cornus 'Ormonde' " (
i-Ormonde/Details). Retrieved 2 February 2018.
13. "RHS Plantfinder - Cornus 'Porlock' " (
i-Porlock/Details). Retrieved 2 February 2018.
14. Missouri Botanical Garden (
15. "Dogwood." McGraw-Hill Concise Encyclopedia of Science and Technology. New York:
McGraw-Hill, 2006. Credo Reference. Web. 17 September 2012.
16. Gunn, John C. (1835). Gunn's Domestic Medicine (
/books?id=mf3OAAAAMAAJ) (4th ed.). p. 523.
17. "Dogwood or cornel." The Columbia Encyclopedia. New York: Columbia University Press,
2008. Credo Reference. Web. 17 September 2012.
18. "Medicinal Dogwood Trees" (
p/wld-dogwood.htm). Prepper Gardens. Retrieved January 8, 2013.
19. Schafer, Peg (2011). The Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm: A Cultivator's Guide to Small-scale
Organic Herb Production (
Chelsea Green Publishing. pp. 312 (page 150). ISBN 9781603583305.
20. Richard H. Eyde (1987). "The case for keeping Cornus in the broad Linnaean sense".
Systematic Botany. 12 (4): 505–518. doi:10.2307/2418886 (
/2418886). JSTOR 2418886 (

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21. Richard H. Eyde (1988). "Comprehending Cornus: puzzles and progress in the systematics
of the dogwoods". Botanical Review. 54 (3): 233–351. doi:10.1007/bf02868985
( JSTOR 4354115 (
22. Fan, Chuanzhu; Xiang, Qiu-Yun (2001). "Phylogenetic relationships within Cornus
(Cornaceae) based on 26S rDNA sequences" (
/88/6/1131.long). American Journal of Botany. 88 (6). doi:10.2307/2657096
23. Zhiang, Qiu-Yun; Thomas, David T.; Zhang, Wenheng; Manchester, Steven R.; Murrell, Zack
(2006). "Species level phylogeny of the genus Cornus (Cornaceae) based on molecular
and morphological evidence—implications for taxonomy and Tertiary intercontinental
migration" (
ntinental_migration/links/5521ad3e0cf29dcabb0d1987.pdf) (PDF). Taxon. 55 (1).
Retrieved 29 January 2016.
24. "Tropicos | Name - Cornus peruviana J.F. Macbr." ( Retrieved 2016-01-29.
25. Macbride, J.F. (1959). "Cornaceae". Flora of Peru (
/page/2372788#page/52/mode/1up). 13 pt.5 no.1. Field Museum. pp. 44–45.
26. Manchester, S.R.; Xiang, X-P.; Xiang, Q-Y (2010). "Fruits of Cornelian Cherries (Cornaceae:
Cornus Subg. Cornus) in the Paleocene and Eocene of the Northern Hemisphere"
/2010%20Cornelian%20Cherries%20%20Cornus.pdf) (PDF). International Journal of Plant
Sciences. 171 (8): 882–891. doi:10.1086/655771 (
27. Manchester, S.R. (1994). "Fruits and Seeds of the Middle Eocene Nut Beds Flora, Clarno
Formation, Oregon". Palaeontographica Americana. 58: 30–31.
28. "Cornus florida × Cornus kousa" (
Landscape Plants: Images, identification, and information. Oregon State University.
Retrieved 20 May 2011.
31. Aeneid III 22-23: Forte fuit iuxta tumulus, quo cornea summo virgulta et densis hastilibus
horrida myrtus.
32. Morrow, Anne (1956). Dogwood. 333 6th Avenue, New York 14, N.Y.: Pantheon Books.
pp. 38–39.
33. The Old Legend of the Dogwood (
/aileen_old_legend_of_the_dogwood.htm) Archived (
/aileen_old_legend_of_the_dogwood.htm) 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine.
34. Jeffrey G. Meyer (2004). The Tree Book: A Practical Guide to Selecting and Maintaining the
Best Trees for Your Yard and Garden (
/books?id=nERh9pS5r5MC&pg=PA258). Simon and Schuster. pp. 258–.
ISBN 978-0-7432-4974-4.
35. Thomas E. Barden (1991). Virginia Folk Legends (
/books?id=GN4_KGQKgSYC&pg=PA61). University of Virginia Press. pp. 61–.
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36. Ronald L. Baker (1 August 1984). Hoosier Folk Legends (

/books?id=-xqSIsUF76QC&pg=PA7). Indiana University Press. pp. 7–. ISBN 0-253-20334-1.
38. Gledhill, David (2008). "The Names of Plants". Cambridge University Press.
ISBN 9780521866453 (hardback), ISBN 9780521685535 (paperback). pp 121

External links
Dogwood history and uses (
Asian dogwoods (

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