Open the Advanced Search

White Dogwood

Cornus alba

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Cornaceae (Dogwood)
Deciduous shrub
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
10 metres tall
Gardens, hedgerows, parks, roadsides, woodland.

White, 4 petals
Clusters of small creamy white flowers. Clusters are up to 5cm or 2 inches wide. Pollinated by insects.
White, oval berries which are occasionally blue-tinted. The seeds ripen from August to October.
Dark green, ovate, pointed leaves. The leaves turn orange or purplish red in autumn. The stems of White Dogwood are brilliant red.
Other Names:
Red-barked Dogwood, Red-twigged Dogwood, Siberian Dogwood, Tartarian Dogwood, Tatarian Dogwood, White-berried Dogwood.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Cornus alba, also known as Tatarian dogwood or red-barked dogwood, is a species of flowering plant in the dogwood family. It is native to Asia, and it has been introduced to other parts of the world. Cornus alba is a deciduous shrub or small tree that grows to a height of 3-6 meters (10-20 feet). It has a rounded or oval-shaped canopy and produces clusters of small, white flowers in the spring. The flowers are followed by small, blue-black berries that are attractive to birds. The plant has red or purple stems and leaves, which turn a vibrant red color in the fall. Cornus alba is often grown as an ornamental plant in gardens and parks. It is also used in landscaping and erosion control.


White Dogwood: A Majestic Ornamental Tree

White dogwood (Cornus alba) is a stunning ornamental tree that is native to Asia and Eastern Europe. It is a deciduous tree that can grow up to 10 meters tall and is best known for its attractive appearance and the beauty it brings to any landscape. The white dogwood tree is often referred to as a four-season tree, as it provides interest in the garden throughout the entire year. In this blog post, we'll explore the unique features of the white dogwood and why it's a must-have for any garden enthusiast.

Flowers and Leaves

White dogwood trees are prized for their large clusters of white flowers that bloom in spring. The flowers are typically 4-6 cm in diameter and are arranged in a flat-topped cluster. The flowers are followed by small, red berries that are attractive to birds and wildlife.

The leaves of the white dogwood are oval in shape and are bright green in the summer, turning yellow in the fall. This provides an excellent contrast to the white flowers and red berries, making the tree a beautiful addition to any landscape.

Bark and Branches

The bark of the white dogwood is one of its most striking features. The bark is a rich, dark red color and has a distinctive, exfoliating pattern. This is particularly stunning in the winter months, when the bare branches of the tree show off the bark to its fullest.

The branches of the white dogwood are strong and sturdy, making the tree an excellent choice for gardens with limited space. The branches grow in a uniform manner, creating a pleasing symmetry in the tree's shape.

Culture and Uses

White dogwoods are relatively easy to grow and are suitable for a wide range of soils. They prefer a moist, well-drained soil and a location that receives partial shade. However, they can also be grown in full sun as long as the soil remains moist.

The white dogwood is an excellent choice for use as a specimen tree, in shrub borders, or in mass plantings. It is also an ideal tree for naturalizing, as it can be grown in woodland gardens or along the edge of a stream.

The white dogwood is a magnificent ornamental tree that provides year-round interest in the garden. With its large clusters of white flowers, red berries, striking bark, and beautiful leaves, it is a must-have for any garden enthusiast. So, if you're looking to add some beauty and interest to your landscape, consider planting a white dogwood tree.

Pests and Diseases

Despite its beauty, the white dogwood is not immune to pests and diseases. Some common pests include Japanese beetles, scale insects, and aphids. These pests can cause leaf damage and reduce the tree's overall health and appearance. To prevent pest infestations, it is important to regularly inspect the tree and take appropriate measures to control any outbreaks.

Diseases that can affect the white dogwood include powdery mildew, leaf spot, and canker. Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that causes a white, powdery growth on the leaves and stems of the tree. Leaf spot is a fungal disease that causes dark spots on the leaves and can reduce the tree's overall health. Canker is a fungal disease that causes the bark of the tree to become diseased and die. To prevent disease, it is important to maintain the tree's overall health by providing adequate water and fertilizer, avoiding over-pruning, and removing any diseased or dead wood from the tree.


White dogwoods can be propagated by seed or by cuttings. Seed propagation is the easiest method, but it can take several years for the seedlings to reach maturity. Cuttings are a faster method, but they require more skill and attention. To propagate by cuttings, take stem cuttings from the tree in late summer or early fall and root them in a potting mix. Keep the cuttings moist and in a bright, warm location until roots have formed.

The white dogwood is a beautiful ornamental tree that brings interest and beauty to any landscape. It is an excellent choice for use as a specimen tree, in shrub borders, or in mass plantings. Despite its beauty, the white dogwood is not immune to pests and diseases, so it is important to take steps to prevent and control any outbreaks. With its large clusters of white flowers, red berries, striking bark, and beautiful leaves, the white dogwood is a must-have for any garden enthusiast.

Cultural Significance

In addition to its ornamental value, the white dogwood also holds cultural significance in many parts of the world. In the United States, the dogwood is the state flower of Virginia and is often associated with springtime and Easter. In China, the dogwood is considered a symbol of spring and is often used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments.

In some cultures, the white dogwood is also believed to have spiritual significance. In Native American cultures, the tree was considered sacred and was used in a variety of religious ceremonies. In Christian mythology, the dogwood is believed to be the tree from which the cross was made that Jesus was crucified on. According to legend, the dogwood tree was once a tall and majestic tree, but after the crucifixion, it was cursed and made small and bent, so it could never again be used to make a cross.

Environmental Benefits

In addition to its ornamental and cultural significance, the white dogwood also provides important environmental benefits. The tree is an important source of food and shelter for birds and other wildlife, and it helps to improve air and water quality. The white dogwood is also an important tree for erosion control, as its roots help to stabilize the soil and prevent erosion.

In conclusion, the white dogwood is a magnificent ornamental tree that offers a wealth of benefits to the environment, culture, and society. Whether you're a gardener, a bird-watcher, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of nature, the white dogwood is an excellent choice for your landscape.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

Click to open an Interactive Map