Identifying species - Umbrella shape, early spring flowering dogwood

Discussion in 'Cornus (dogwoods)' started by nhgardener, Jul 13, 2006.

  1. nhgardener

    nhgardener Member

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    Londonderry, NH USA
    Hello all...my first posting, looking for help.
    I am interested in planting a dogwood and am trying to find one similar to one that grows outside my workplace, which of course has no identification. It is growing in full sun, well drained and bloomed mid to late May here in NH. I would describe it as having an umbrella shaped canopy with beautiful white flowers. I know based on the landscaping expertise that it is growing that way naturally as I am sure that the landscapers do nothing to it. Unfortunately I have no idea how long it has been there so can't say how old it is, but it is probably only 15 feet high and the canopy not quite that large. I have done quite a bit of research trying to determine what species/variety it is. It appears from what I have read that the kousa varieties may start out an conical and mature to more of an umbrella. But even then there are so many varieties of kousa an many of the pictures I have found show the blossoms not the tree shape. Does anyone have any suggestions as to which species/variety would fit the bill?
     
  2. smivies

    smivies Active Member

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    Flower shape, size of plant, and bloom time (in absence of photos) is a good way to narrow down Dogwood species (and varieties).

    It sounds like you've already decided that it's a Kousa dogwood (four white bracts with pointed tips?)...did it flower in June? Kousa varieties generally differ in flower colour, size, flower density, etc. At least one has variegated leaves and while the varieties may have differences in growth habits, it's generally not the primary factor for selection so it would be very difficult to identify a variety based on shape.

    Consider that it may be a C. kousa x florida hybrid? Did it flower in May, after the leaves opened, or a straight C. florida (flowers before leaves)

    Simon
     
  3. pierrot

    pierrot Active Member 10 Years

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    There is a great book published by timber press in Oregon called "Dogwoods". It is comprehensive in its descriptions of the species and cultivars. It may help with the description of your tree. If you narrow it down according to the bract shape as smivies says then you can get to a description of the tree shape.

    Here is the book I am talking about. Sorry its a link to a Canadian web site but the essential info about the book is there

    http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/item/books-978088192679/0881926795/Dogwoods+The+Genus+Cornus?ref=Search+Books%3a+'dogwoods'

    you may be able to get this from your library or from the library at the local College or University

    hope this helps
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Chances are its flowering dogwood (Cornus florida). The bracts (petal-like parts) of this common favorite eastern native are blunt, rather than pointed as in the June-blooming Kousa.
     
  5. Raakel

    Raakel Active Member

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    Here is a link for the Botany Photo of the Day on June 23. Although it does not provide a closeup of the flowers and bracts, it gives you an idea of the form of Cornus kousa. If you have trouble finding out what the exact name of the plant in question is, I have no doubt that you will be completely satisfied by planting a Cornus kousa. One important thing to consider is that Cornus florida is susceptible to dogwood anthracnose, whereas Cornus kousa is not. Some C. kousa x florida hybrid cultivars have also shown resistance to anthracnose. They are listed at the bottom of the link provided.

    Raakel
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2006
  6. nhgardener

    nhgardener Member

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    Thanks for all of your help. I know it flowered in May or at the latest early June, but as to whether the leaves were out or not I can't say I noticed, what I noticed is the beautiful mushroom of white! Unfortunately for me now, I was looking at the overall rather than the detail. I am guessing that maybe it is not the kousa, as the link to that appears to be more shrub like...maybe the C. kousa x florida? I will check out the book as suggested. I would really like to get it to plant this fall, but maybe I ought to wait and really check it out next spring.
     

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