The Pacific Dogwood is a species of dogwood tree that is native to western North America from the beautiful lowlands of southern British Columbia to the enormous mountains of southern California. There is also a population of pacific dogwood trees that thrive in central Idaho.
Unlike some of its taller dogwood relatives, the pacific dogwood is described as being a small to medium sized deciduous tree, only reaching heights between ten and twenty-five feet at total maturity. In some cases the pacific dogwood can be categorized as a small shrub or small tree. The leaves of this gorgeous tree are simple, oval shaped and about twelve inches long. In the spring the leaves are a beautiful shiny green, which turn a vibrant orange and sometimes pink color in the fall. The bark of the pacific dogwood is smooth, silvery gray in color, and forms in small scales.
Like the flowering dogwood, the pacific dogwood produces flowers that resemble a small button. The flowers of the pacific dogwood are traditionally greenish-white in color with a pretty purple tip, comprised of four to eight petals or bracts that are four to seven centimeters long. The pacific dogwood’s flowers form in clusters and are small in stature. In full bloom they are only about three millimeters across. The flowers of the pacific dogwood bloom in spring, but have been known to repeat blooming again early in the fall season.
The pacific dogwood tree also produces a fruit which stays on the tree long after the leaves have fallen to the earth in the fall. The fruits are long, dark red in color, and are edible but not very pleasing to the palate. The fruits grow in clusters and hit their ripest point mid-way through October.
The pacific dogwood can be found growing along the edges of forests and under the canopies that are produced by larger trees. The beauty of this tree is so amazing to some that in British Columbia the pacific dogwood is protected by law. The wood of the pacific dogwood is described as being of a fine grain, heavy and very hard. The wood of this particular species of dog wood is commonly used for making piano keys, knitting needles, bows and arrows. The beautiful bark collected from the pacific dogwood is used commonly as a tanning agent, a vomit inducer, a natural laxative and a component of dyes, while the branches have been used to make sling shots.