The Flowering Dogwood grows to heights of 40 feet and the crown is broad, open, and symmetrical, with many upright and spreading limbs from short trunks. The bark is smooth and greenish gray when young, becoming dark gray with many small squarish blocks that flake when mature.
The simple, opposite, deciduous leaves are dark dull green above and paler beneath. They are one to four inches long, elliptic, with acute tips, broadly wedge shaped bases, and entire margins that often appear to be wavy. The lateral veins arch conspicuously toward the tip of the leaf.
The flowers are small and yellow, in a dense central cluster surrounded by four large white or pale cream colored, petal-like bracts. Next spring's flower buds are conspicuous during winter, like quarter-inch, stalked gray mushrooms.
The fruits are drupes with a smooth, glossy scarlet flesh over a ridged, bony stone.
The Flowering Dogwood occurs throughout Florida as far south as Polk and Manatee Counties on a wide variety of soils. This tree blooms heavily in gardens, in street plantings, and in the forests. Unfortunately, the beautiful pink-flowered forms unfortunately are not well-adapted to cultivation in Florida.