This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(ancient Latin name of Cornus mas). Cornaceae. Dogwood. Woody plants (one or two infrequently cultivated herbs), grown for their attractive flowers and fruits; some species also for the winter effect of their brightly colored branches.
Shrubs or trees, rarely herbs: leaves opposite, rarely alternate or whorled, deciduous, entire: flowers small, 4-merous, usually white, in terminal cymes (Fig. 1061) or heads; calyx-teeth minute; petals valvate; style simple, filiform or cylindric; ovary inferior, 2-celled: fruit a drupe with a 2-celled stone. - About 40 species in the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere and one in Peru. Monograph by Wangerin in Engler, Pflanzenreich, hft. 41, pp. 43-92, quoted below as Wang.
The dogwoods are hardy ornamental shrubs with handsome foliage, often assuming a brilliant fall coloring, and with attractive flowers and fruits. Nearly all are very desirable for planting in shrubberies. They grow nearly as well in shady places under large trees as in sunny exposed situations, and thrive in almost any soil. One of the most beautiful in bloom is C. florida, with extremely showy flowers in spring. C. racemosa is one of the best for shrubberies, blooming profusely in June. The red-branched species, as C. alba, C. Amomum, C. Baileyi, C. sanguinea are very attractive in winter. Propagated by seeds, which usually do not germinate until the second year. The species with willow-like soft wood, as C. alba and its allies, grow readily from cuttings of mature wood, while the others are sometimes increased by layers. They are often grown in this country from nearly ripened cuttings
(Fig. 1062), handled in frames in summer. Horticultural varieties of other species are mostly budded in summer on seedlings of the type, or grafted in early spring in the propagating-house.
Fig. 1061. Cornus winter shoots, showing the opposite buds and terminal flower-clusters. - Cornus Baileyi.
Fig. 1062. Cutting of Cornus.
Various species of Cornus have many interesting uses. Our native C. florida, which in flower is the showiest member of the genus, furnishes a useful substitute for quinine. The bark of all parts contains the same substances found in cinchona, but in different proportions. It is inferior in effectiveness and more difficult to secure in large quantities. It is sometimes possible to ward off fevers by merely chewing the twigs. The powdered bark makes a good tooth-powder, and the fresh twigs can be used for the same purpose. The bark mixed with sulfate of iron makes a good black ink. The bark of the roots yields a scarlet dye. The wood, being hard, heavy, and close-grained, is good for tool handles. The cornelian cherry has pulpy fruits resembling cornelian in color and about the size and shape of olives, for which they can be substituted. The ripe fruits are soft and rather sweet. The name dogwood comes from the fact that a decoction of the bark of C. sanguinea was used in England to wash mangy dogs.
The small red berries of C. suecica (not in the trade) are eaten by the Esquimaux.
Fig. 1063. Cornus alternifolia.
a. Plants, shrubs or trees.
b. Flowers in cymes or panicles without involucre. (Svida.) c. Foliage alternate: flowers in umbel-like cymes, cream-colored.
(Svida alternifolia, Small). Fig. 1063. Shrub or small tree, to 25 ft.: leaves slenderpetioled, elliptic or ovate, usually cuneate, acuminate, nearly glabrous above, pale or whitish beneath and appressed pubescent, 3-5 in. long: cymes 1 1/2-2 1/2 in. wide: fruit dark blue, globular, 1/3in. across, on red peduncles. May, June. New Bruns. to Ga. and Ala., west to Minn. S.S. 5:216. Em. 463. Wang. 51. - Of very distinct habit, the branches being arranged in irregular whorls, forming flat, horizontally spreading tiers, as in the picture. A variety which shows this habit more distinctly than the common form is variety umbraculifera, Dieck. variety argentea, Temple & Beard, is a form with white-marked foliage. variety ochroleuca, Rehd., has yellowish fruits
(C. brachypoda, Koch, not C. A. Mey. C. macrophylla, Koehne, not Wall.). Tree, to 60 ft.: leaves slender-petioled, broadly ovate or elliptic-ovate, usually rounded at the base, abruptly acuminate, whitish and slightly hairy beneath, 3-5 in. long: cymes 3-4 in. wide: fruit bluish black. June. Himalayas to Japan. B.M. 8261. S.I.F. 1:77. R.B. 30:63. - With the habit of the former, but of more vigorous growth; not hardy N. variety variegata, Rehd. (C. macrophylla variegata, Barbier). Leaves edged white. Gng. 3:67; 16:291. J.H. III. 28:129; 47:147.
cc. Foliage opposite. d. fruit white or blue.
E. The flowers in umbel-like flat cymes.
F. Color of fruit white or bluish white.
G. Under side of leaves with appressed hairs, glaucous.
(C. alba, Wang.). Red-Osier Dogwood. Fig. 1064. Shrub, to 8 ft., usually with dark blood-red branches and prostrate stem, stoloniferous: leaves obtuse at the base, ovate or oblong-lanceolate, acuminate, 2-5 in. long: cymes dense, 1-2 in. wide; disk usually red: fruit white, globose, with the stone broader than high. May, June. From Brit. N. Amer. to III. and Calif. G.C. II. 8:679. - Habit bush-like, as in Fig. 1064. variety fiaviramea, Spaeth. Branches yellow. There are also varieties with variegated leaves variety nitida, Schneid. (C. alba var nitida, Koehne). Branches green: leaves glossy above. variety coloradensis, Schneid. (C. alba variety C. coloradensis, Koehne). Branches brownish red, strongly recurved: fruit bluish white. Colo. variety pendula, Ell. Low shrub with pendulous branches.