The flowering dogwood trees are classified in the genus Cornus. There are several species, the most popular being Cornus kousa, the Chinese dogwood, and the earlier-flowering Cornus florida, the American dogwood.
The appearance of the spring blossom in many of the flowering dogwoods is somewhat unusual. The flowers are quite small, but surrounded by (usually 4) large bracts which have the appearance of large petals. The blossom is usually quite long lasting and is the main feature of many of these trees. However some forms also have attractive autumn leaf colours too.
Although primarily ornamental trees, many dogwoods produce small edible fruitlets.
Most dogwoods are small trees, very hardy, and tolerant of most situations. They do not mind some shade and in the wild are often found growing under other larger trees.