Dogwood

©Philip Precey

Dogwood

Scientific name: Cornus sanguinea
The striking red twigs and crimson, autumnal leaves of Dogwood make this small shrub an attractive ornamental plant. It can be seen growing wild along woodland edges and hedgerows.

Species information

Statistics

Height: up to 10m

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

January to December

About

Dogwood is a small shrub, widespread along the woodland edges and hedgerows of Southern England. The crimson colour of its leaves in autumn, and its strikingly red twigs, make it a popular ornamental plant, so it is frequently planted in parks and gardens. In early autumn, it produces clusters of black berries.

How to identify

Dogwood has reddish twigs, and displays umbels (umbrella-like clusters) of white flowers that turn to blackish berries. Its leaves are oval and smooth along the edges, sitting opposite each other on the twigs.

Distribution

Widespread in England and Wales.

Did you know?

The branches of Dogwood are very straight and tough, so were traditionally used to make arrows, butcher's skewers and herding poles.

How people can help

Our native tree species provide important links in the food chain for many animals, as well as areas for shelter and nesting. The Wildlife Trusts recognise the importance of healthy habitats to support all kinds of species throughout the food chain, so look after many nature reserves for the benefit of wildlife. You can help too: volunteer for your local Wildlife Trust and you could be involved in everything from coppicing to craft-making, stockwatching to surveying.