Cornus sanguinea - Dogwood

Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Magnoliopsida - Order: Cornales - Family: Cornaceae


There are many garden cultivars of this shrubby bush, which rarely grows taller than three metres and is most commonly found on chalky soil.

The prefix 'dog' is often given to species considered to be of little value, and the fruits of Cornus sanguinea are bitter and inedible (although oil from the berries was uses to fuel lamps). Another explanation for the common name for this species comes from one use of its coppiced shoots; they were sharpened and used by farmers as animal prods or 'dags' when herding stock.

The timber is tough and very durable. The 'Ice man' discovered on the border between Italy and Austria in 1991 was carrying arrows made from dogwood.

The flowers, which are white and have four pointed petals, appear in June and July, and the berries ripen from August to October.