Dogwood, a genus of shrubs and small trees of the Northern Hemisphere. There are about 45 species in North America; they also are called cornel. The flowering dogwood is found from Ontario to Texas. It blooms early in spring, before the leaves appear. The large pink or white "flowers'' are really petal-like bracts that surround a dense yellowish flower head. Clusters of bright red berries follow the blossoms. The tree seldom grows taller than 20 feet (6 m) and has smooth, oval leaves that turn red in autumn. The Pacific dogwood is somewhat larger and has white bracts. The blossom of the flowering dogwood is the state flower of North Carolina and Virginia.
Several dogwood shrubs are grown as ornamentals. The red osier has dark red branches, as do the bloodtwig and Tatarian dogwoods; the goldentwig has yellow branches. The cornelian cherry is a European dogwood with yellow flowers and edible red berries.
Since the 1970's, the fungal disease anthracnose has been killing flowering dogwoods in the eastern United States.
Dogwoods belong to the family Cornaceae. The flowering dogwood is Cornus florida; the Pacific, C. muttallii; the red osier, C. sericea; the goldentwig, C. stolonifera var. flaviramea; the bloodtwig, C. sanguinea; the Tatarian, C. alba; and the cornelian cherry, C. mas.