Dogwoods come in all shapes and sizes, from the classic pink flowering dogwood most of us envision to less familiar kinds with unique features like colorful fruit, leaves, and hardiness.
So if you want to find the dogwood that’s perfect for you, from flowering and fruitless species with varying leaf shapes and hardiness levels to favorites like Kousa dogwood, Grey Dogwood, and Pacific dogwood-we’ve got you covered.
Whether adding one to your yard or learning more, this article is your perfect guide as we cover the main varieties.
- What Are Dogwood Trees?
- Different Types of Dogwood Trees
What Are Dogwood Trees?
Dogwood trees are a captivating and diverse group of flowering trees from the genus Cornus.
These trees are renowned for their ornamental beauty and are native to various regions across North America, Asia, and Europe.
One of the defining features of dogwood trees is their exquisite flowers.
The flowering dogwood, for instance, produces showy blossoms with four large bracts that appear like petals.
Dogwoods also bear attractive fruits, which can be deep purple to bright red, depending on the species.
These vibrant flowers and fruits contribute to their visual appeal and make them a favorite choice for ornamental planting.
Dogwood trees vary in size, ranging from small shrubs to medium-sized trees.
They typically have a rounded or spreading canopy, making them ideal for ornamental planting in landscapes and gardens.
Different Types of Dogwood Trees
Dogwoods range from classic pink flowering ones most envision to rarer kinds with colorful fruit, leaves, and hardiness levels.
Learn the types of dogwood trees below.
Type #1: Flowering Dogwood
Flowering dogwood is a deciduous tree with showy white or pink blooms in spring and red berries in fall, prized for seasonal landscape interest.
This dogwood is the most common species, reaching 20-30 feet (6-9 m) tall at maturity.
Its large bracts resemble flower petals and offer colorful displays in spring, while red fall foliage provides a show in autumn.
The flowering dogwood was named the official state tree of North Carolina in 2009.
Type #2: Pacific Dogwood
Native to the West Coast of North America, this dogwood species features white flowers in spring with four-pointed bracts and blue-black berries in fall.
Its leaves emerge maroon in color before turning medium green in summer, then transitioning to vibrant red and purple hues in autumn.
Type #3: Cornelian Cherry Dogwood
This small deciduous dogwood produces clusters of cheerful yellow flowers in spring before its leaves emerge.
Originally from Europe and Western Asia, Cornelian cherry dogwood grows 15 to 25 feet (4.5-7.5) tall at maturity.
The exfoliating bark, yellow spring flowers, red fruits, and fall foliage in shades of burgundy and purple make this dogwood excellent for small gardens, hedgerows, and wildlife habitats.
Type #4: Kousa Dogwood
Native to Asia, Kousa dogwood is prized for its fragrant white bracts in spring, red stems, and bright red to purplish fall foliage.
Kousa dogwood grows slowly to a medium-sized deciduous tree reaching 20 to 30 feet (6-9 m) tall at maturity.
Kousa dogwoods resist many fungal diseases and insect pests that plague flowering dogwoods.
Type #5: Roughleaf Dogwood
A medium-sized deciduous tree native to swampy areas in eastern North America, roughleaf dogwood features clusters of small white flowers in spring, followed by blue-black fruit.
Though not as showy as some other dogwoods, roughleaf dogwood is valued for its adaptation to wet areas and use in naturalizing landscapes.
Type #6: Pagoda Dogwood
Originating from China, this medium-sized ornamental dogwood gets its common name from its distinct tiered branching habit that resembles a pagoda.
Pagoda dogwood features white flower bracts in spring, red stems, and red to purple fall foliage.
The ornamental multi-stemmed structure, colorful spring blooms, and fall foliage make pagoda dogwood a popular addition to Asian-inspired gardens and landscapes.
Type #7: Redosier Dogwood
A medium-sized deciduous shrub rather than a true tree, redosier dogwood gets its name from its colorful red stems, which are most prominent in winter.
Native to wet soils across North America, redosier dogwood typically grows 8 to 12 feet (2.4-3.6 m) tall.
Redosier dogwood is often used for erosion control, streambank stabilization, and wetland plantings.
Type #8: Grey Dogwood
Another medium-sized deciduous shrub rather than a true tree, grey dogwood gets its common name from its greyish-green foliage.
Also called red-twigged dogwood, grey dogwood features white flower clusters in spring and red stems, which provide winter interest.
Grey dogwood is valued for its ornamental qualities, including the colorful red stems, small white flowers in spring, and exfoliating bark.
Type #9: American Dogwood
Nearly identical to flowering dogwood except for its smaller stature, American dogwood typically matures at 15 to 20 feet (4.5-6 m) tall.
Like flowering dogwood, it features showy pink or white flower bracts in spring, red berries in fall, and red to purple fall foliage.
American dogwood prefers partial shade and consistently moist, acidic soil high in organic matter.
Type #10: Chinese Dogwood
Chinese dogwood is native to eastern Asia and similar to other dogwood species, with its white flower clusters in spring, red berries in fall, and colorful foliage.
It typically matures at 15 to 20 feet (4.5-6 m) tall with a similar spread and adapts well to various landscape conditions, thriving in full sun to part shade and moist, well-drained soil.
Dogwoods beautifully ornament landscapes with seasonal blooms, colorful foliage, and ornamental fruit.
With proper placement and care, a dogwood tree can be a source of joy for many years, gracing your yard with nature’s charm.
Let a dogwood remind you of the wonders of nature’s beauty today.