The Cornus florida, or flowering dogwood tree, occurs in shady woodlands and along river banks in the central and eastern United States. This species is often planted as an ornamental landscape tree because of its year-round aesthetic value.
Flowering dogwood trees grow to be approximately 30 feet tall with an equal spread. They have short single or multiple trunks, wide crowns and simple oval-shaped, medium-green leaves that change to red or purple in autumn. Flowering dogwood trees produce small yellow blossoms surrounded by pink or white petal-like bracts, or modified leaves, around the middle of May. The blossoms are later replaced by clusters of bright red berries.
Several other dogwood species include the Pacific dogwood Cornus nuttallii, which grows from San Francisco to British Columbia. Cornus alternifolia, or the Pagoda dogwood, grows from New Brunswick to Arkansas; it produces yellowish-white blossoms in late spring. The Cornus controversa, or giant dogwood, which is native to China, grows as tall as 60 feet, according to the University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service.
Dogwoods prefer well-drained, moist soil and full sun or partial shade. Several flowering dogwood cultivars include Cherokee Sunset, which produces red blossoms, and Welchii, which produces cream, pink and green variegated flowers. Dogwood trees are susceptible to several diseases including anthracnose, root rot, powdery mildew and cankers.