Flowering dogwoods are common North American native plants in the wild,
also popular in cultivated plantings.
Identification: Flowering dogwood is somewhere between
a large bush, at a typical 15' (4.6 m) in height, and a small tree, at up to 30' (9.1 m).
It has a single trunk and rounded crown typical of a tree. The trunk bark separates into square
blocks or scales about 1" (2.5 cm) across as the tree ages. Leaves are opposite, 4-8" (10-20 cm) long
and half as wide, with smooth edges and prominent veins, turning red to deep reddish purple
in the fall. Flowers are white, and up to 4" (10 cm) across. Okay, I lied: in fact, the flowers are green (!), a small inconspicuous disc
in the center of what appears to be the flower. The familiar white petals are actually bracts—modified leaves. Fruits are bright
red, oval, ¼-½" (6.3-12 mm) long, in small tight clusters.
Edibility: Poisonous Though favored by many types of
wildlife, the bright red berries are poisonous to people.