crimson stems of dogwood in winter

Species Name: Cornus sanguinia

Dogwood is a broadleaf shrub found along woodland edges and is easily distinguishable due to its bright red twigs.

How to Identify
Trunk -
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.
bright red stems of autumnal dogwood
Leaves -
The leaves are oval with smooth sides and curving veins that turn deep red in the autumn
a young dogwood plant at collett's farm
Fruit -
Dogwood has small creamy flowers with four petals that are found in clusters. Once pollinated these develop into small black berries in the autumn.
close up of dogwood berries
Where to find...

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.

Mythology & symbolism...

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.

Uses for this tree...

Dogwood has been used in traditional medicine to treat malaria, as a tea to treat fevers, and to cover wounds.

The dogwood's value:

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.
Did you know?

The name dogwood originates from the straight twigs used to make butchers’ skewers nicknamed ‘dogs’.

2% of the trees we are planting in the Forest this season are dogwood.

Close up of a dogwood branch with autumn leaves and a cluster of small black berries