(Cornus sanguinea)


Winter twig
Winter twig

leaves and flowers


distribution map

The oval leaves are opposite, 4-8 cm long, with 3-4 pairs of veins. The leaves are on on stalks 8-15 mm long. They are paler below than above and both surfaces are covered in appressed hairs. If gently broken in half across the veins, the two parts will stay together, held by the spiral vascular bundles.

ID check

Dogwood is a deciduous, suckering shrub 2-5 m tall, with red-tinted stems, is found on woodland margins, in scrub and hedgerows, particularly on lime-rich soils.

Creamy-white flowers, about 10 mm across, have 4 petals hairy on the outside. They are arranged in flat-topped clusters on short, branched stalks and appear in June and July.

The black, pea-sized fruits, each containing two stones, are ripe in September.

The leaves turn a rich red in autumn.


  • The name dogwood comes from 'dagwood'. The hard wood was used to make 'dags' or skewers (hence 'dagger').

  • The flowers have a strong unpleasant smell, but this attracts many pollinating insects.

  • The young leaves are food for the caterpillars of green hairstreak and holly blue butterflies.

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