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House with native plants and animalsGoing Native: Urban Landscaping for Wildlife with Native Plants
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Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)

Flowering Dogwood is a deciduous tree that may grow 15 to 25 feet tall. The leaves are alternate, acutely veined, with a smooth to wavy margin. The bark is smooth when young. As the tree ages, the bark becomes very scaly to finely blocky. A very small and inconspicuous, tight cluster of green flowers surrounded by 4 very showy, large, white (occasionally pink) bracts mature in early spring. The small tree produces a cluster of red drupes that mature in the fall.


Host plant for the Spring Azure butterfly. Butterflies nectar on the blooms. Fruits are eaten by songbirds, ruffed grouse, quail, wild turkeys, chipmunks, black bears, foxes, white-tailed deer, skunks, and squirrels. Foliage is browsed by white-tailed deer.

Plant Type Tree 10-30 feet
Leaf Type Deciduous
Deer Resistance Moderate
Regions Mountain, Piedmont, Coastal Plain
Light Full Sun, Partial Sun/Shade
Soil Moist, Dry
Bloom Times Early Spring
Seed Times Fall
Wildlife Value Fleshy Fruit, Butterfly/Insect Nectar, Butterfly Larvae Host
NC Forest ServiceNC Cooperative Extension