Species At Risk

Eastern Flowering Dogwood

(Cornus florida)


Eastern Flowering Dogwood
Eastern Flowering Dogwood occurrences map


Eastern Flowering Dogwood is a small tree that reaches 3-10 metres in height and has oval leaves arranged in pairs along the branch. The bark of larger trees is brownish-grey and separated into scales, giving it the appearance of alligator skin. Tiny yellow flowers grow in clusters at the ends of small branches and are surrounded by four large, showy white leaves that look like petals. The berries grow in clusters of two to six. They are smooth and turn bright red in late summer.

Action we are taking:


Eastern Flowering Dogwood is a fairly common species in the core of its range in the middle and southern United States. In Canada, it can only be found in southern Ontario in the Carolinian Zone (the small area of Ontario southwest of Toronto to Sarnia down to the shores of Lake Erie).


Eastern Flowering Dogwood grows under taller trees in mid-age to mature deciduous or mixed forests. It most commonly grows on floodplains, slopes, bluffs and in ravines, and is also sometimes found along roadsides and fencerows.


Dogwood anthracnose fungus is the primary threat to the species. This fungus first attacks the leaves of the tree, then spreads through the twigs and trunk. Mortality of infected trees usually ranges from 25-75% and has had a devastating impact on Eastern Flowering Dogwood populations. Habitat loss and fragmentation (when habitat is broken into smaller segments) are also serious threats to the species.


Eastern Flowering Dogwood and its habitat are protected under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act.

What You Can Do to Help Eastern Flowering Dogwood

  • The Ministry of Natural Resources tracks species at risk such as Eastern Flowering Dogwood. You can use a handy online form to report your sightings to the Natural Heritage Information Centre. Photographs with specific locations or mapping coordinates are always helpful. nhic.mnr.gov.on.ca
  • Report any illegal activity related to plants and wildlife to 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667).
  • Volunteer with your local nature club or provincial park to participate in surveys or stewardship work focused on species at risk.
  • Private land owners have a very important role to play in species recovery. You may be eligible for stewardship programs that support the protection and recovery of species at risk and their habitats.
  • Populations of many insects that pollinate plants are declining around the world. For information on how you can easily give insect pollinators a helping hand visit: www.seeds.ca/proj/poll.

Did you know?

Eastern Flowering Dogwood produces showy flowers in the spring just as the leaves begin to develop. Large, white, petal-like leaves surround the tiny flowers and make them obvious targets for insect pollinators.

Did you know?

The bright red fruit of this tree is poisonous to humans but can be eaten by over 50 species of birds and small mammals. These animals help distribute Eastern Flowering Dogwood seeds throughout forests.

Did you know?

Eastern Flowering Dogwood can look similar to the more common Alternate-leaved Dogwood. Don’t be fooled! As its name suggests, the Alternate-leaved Dogwood has leaves occurring singly along the branch (an arrangement referred to as ‘alternate’) whereas Eastern Flowering Dogwood has leaves arranged in pairs (‘opposite’ leaf arrangement) and also has distinguishing bright red, shiny berries.

Did you know?

Aboriginal people used Eastern Flowering Dogwood for medicinal purposes and used the wood for carving and making tools. Early settlers also sought after the tree’s dense, fine-grained wood.

The Endangered Species Act

Contact your local ministry office

Often the best source of local information on species at risk is your nearest ministry office. Call with your questions or concerns.