Cornus florida Flowering dogwood is one of the most common and beautiful native trees with its showy, white, petal-like, bracts that form in the spring. It is a small understory tree rarely reaching 40 feet in height with a short trunk 12-18 inches in diameter. The species grows on a wide range of sites varying from deep, fertile, moist soils along streams to light textured, well-drained, upland soils. The species can be adversely affected and even killed by prolonged drought or flooding because of its shallow root system. Its thin bark is easily injured by fire, lawn mowers, and string trimmers. Dogwood is a slow to moderate grower. Its greatest value comes from ornamental and landscape uses. The shiny, bright red seeds that mature in the fall are an excellent food for many wildlife species.