This small, understory tree can reach a height of 20 feet. It shows a short trunk which branches low and produces a slightly rounded, to flat topped crown. Branches are opposite and create a candelabra effect. A member of the Dogwood Family, known for its showy floral bracts in Spring and its scarlet fruits in Fall. Also known as the Virginia Dogwood. The wood is used for shuttles in weaving and turned articles – golf club heads, tool handles, knitting needles and engravers blocks. The bitter inner bark was once used as a substitute for quinine in combating fevers. The root bark was also used to make red dye for coloring porcupine quills and bald eagle feathers. Native Americans used it against malaria. The fruits and berries are eaten by several wild birds including the wild turkey, ruffed grouse and bobwhite. Squirrels and chipmunks eat the seeds as well. It is the State tree of Virginia.
3- 5 “ long, oval, bright green above, whitened and hairy below, with slightly wavy edges.
Young – smooth, light gray grows darker with age, turning scaly “alligator hide” to finely blocked.
Slender, green, turning gray later. Flower buds are clove shaped. Leaf buds resemble claws.
Shiny, oval berry ¼ to ½ inch long, in a cluster of 3-5, maturing in Fall.
A tight, small cluster surrounded by four showy white petal-like bracts 2” in diameter (occasionally pink).