The genus Cornus compromise a group of over 30 species of the Dogwood. Most all species of the dogwood are deciduous trees and shrubs. Last counted in 2006, the total number of dogwood species was sitting at 58 and they are divided into four sub-genera.
The dogwood can easily be identified by its flowers and its sub-species by their flowers, fruits and region. Most dogwoods have opposite leaves, while only few have alternative leaves. The one thing they all do have is a fruit called a drupe. The drupe usually contains one to two seeds and the dogwoods’ flowers always contain four parts. In order to distinguish a dogwood one should become familiar with the dogwoods’ flowers. The dogwood flower is known as a bract and is a modified version of a leaf. The bract surrounds the smaller flower heads making it look like a big petal.
(Sub)Genus Cornus: Cornels and (Sub) Genus Swida: Dogwoods have flowering clusters that are semi showy and are usually white or yellow in chymes with large showy bract. The fruit of these two species of dogwood are blue, white and red. The cornel species are separated into four sub-species as well and can be found in China, Japan, the Mediterranean, Korea and California. Sub are divided into over 20 sub-species; the swida genuses can be found all across America, throughout China and Asia, and commonly in Canada.
(Sub) Genus Chamaeperi: Bunchberries and Dwarf Cornels and (Sub) Genus Benthamidia: The Flowering Dogwood has flowering clusters that are unobtrusive and usually green and surrounded by large showy bracts. The fruit of the flowering dogwood, bunchberries and dwarf cornels are most always red. The Chamaeperi genus your bunchberries and dwarf cornels have been separated into three sub-genus. These three species of the dogwood can be found growing in Northern North America, Northern Eurasia, as well as Aleutian Islands, Greenland and Labrador. The Flowering dogwood can be found in areas such as Southern China, the Himalaya’s, Canada, California and British Columbia and has been split into five different sub-species.
Many species in the sub genera swida are commonly found growing along waterways and are often used in natural landscaping. The species in the genera benthamidia are small trees used for their ornamental values. The berries or fruit found on the sub genus swida are mildly toxic to humans, but are readily eaten by birds. The fruit of several of the dogwood species is edible however it lacks any flavor.