Cornus Florida Rubra or Flowering Dogwood
Cornus florida rubra
The generic name is derived from the Latin word cornus meaning horn, apparently a reference to the hardness of the wood which is characteristic of all the species of this genus. The whole genus comprises some 50 species, which are found mostly in the northern hemisphere (only one species grows south of the equator — in Peru).
Flowering dogwood is native to North America and was first grown in Europe in 1731. The variety rubra with red or pinkis a shrub about 5 m (16 ft) high of tree-like habit, for it forms a single, thick stem up to 1 to 1.5 m (3 to 5 ft) high. The floral bracts, which look like petals, are 8 to 15 cm (3 to 6 in) long and white in the type species. The fruit is a scarlet drupe with two seeds. The leaves are a rich green during the summer, turning a magnificent red with purplish tint in the autumn before they fall.
This dogwood is easily propagated from seed, which is stored during the winter at a temperature of about 8° C (47° F), then stratified in spring (March to May) and sown in the autumn. It can also be grafted on rooted stock in the greenhouse; for this purpose an annual shoot with one leaf is used. It likes sunny locations but will tolerate light shade. Theshould be nourishing, moist and on the heavy side. Flowering dogwood looks very striking planted in large gardens as a solitary specimen, which shows its habit to best advantage, or in small groups.