Table Dogwood  tree identification

The Table Dogwood Cornus controversa is native to China, Japan and the Himalayas and was introduced to Britain before 1880.  Sometimes grown as the cultivar ‘variegata’ which has green leaves with pale cream margins and is known as the Wedding Cake Tree because of the white flowers and layered appearance of its branches.

Table Dogwood tree identification – alternate, oval leaves with curved veins, flat white heads of flowers in June and black berries in August

It is rare and only found in a few collections. It is a member of the Dogwood genus Cornus which includes 30 to 60 species found in Eurasia and North America. Many  are grown for their flowers and others for their coloured stems in winter. The Cornelian Cherry Cornus mas is a species of Dogwood, not a Cherry. It is a deciduous tree or shrub, native to southern Europe and south-west Asia. It was cultivated in Britain by 1551, but is now uncommon, being found in only a few collections. It has a cherry-like edible fruit that is used to make jam. It has yellow flowers that come out before the leaves in late winter.  

Table Dogwood tree

Tree in flower in May showing the typical layered appearance.

Table Dogwood leaf

The leaf, typical of Dogwoods, has 6 to 9 pairs of veins which curve round to the tip.

Table Dogwood flowers

White flowers just coming out in May.

Table Dogwood flowers

Flowers fully out in June.

Table Dogwood fruit

Fruit in early July.

Table Dogwood fruit

Fruit at the end of July. 

Table Dogwood fruit

Fruit at the end of August

Table Dogwood bark

The bark is smooth with a few vertical pink cracks.

Shoots and buds are dark red. shoots are thin and buds small. Buds are alternate, not opposite as in other Dogwoods.

Close-up of buds

Buds and branches are alternate

Shoots are slight with lots of branching