Species Name: Cornus sanguinia
Dogwood is a broadleaf shrub found along woodland edges and is easily distinguishable due to its bright red twigs.
Dogwood is a small tree that grows to 10m in height. It has smooth bright red twigs that have dark brown buds in opposite pairs and lie flat along the stem. More mature trees have grey bark with shallow ridges.
The leaves are oval with smooth sides and curving veins that turn deep red in the autumn
Dogwood has small creamy flowers with four petals that are found in clusters. Once pollinated these develop into small black berries in the autumn.
Dogwood is found across Europe, Asia and North America. It prefers damp conditions and calcareous soils. It grows in the woodland edges and hedgerows in the Forest.
Dogwood is a hardwood tree and many believe it was used to make the crucifix for Jesus. Dogwood scrubs feature in Native American culture, such as the spring blooms being a signal to plant corn.
Dogwood has been used in traditional medicine to treat malaria, as a tea to treat fevers, and to cover wounds.
Dogwood pollen and nectar are an important food source for many insects and the leaves are eaten by caterpillars. The berries are food for birds and small mammals.
The name dogwood originates from the straight twigs used to make butchers’ skewers nicknamed ‘dogs’.