Monday, December 22, 2008

Dogwood Seeds (Cornus florida)

Have you ever wondered what the inside of a dogwood (Cornus florida) seed looks like?  If you read yesterday's Name that Seed post you caught a glimpse of some dogwood seeds that were cleaned off by the birds.  Many birds enjoy eating the berries that form on flowering trees.  In this case the bird ate the fleshy outer covering of the drupe leaving behind a more unfamiliar seed. (These never saw the inside of a bird.  If they had I would never have gathered them so cavalierly!) Dogwood seeds need a period of stratification in order to break dormancy.  A good way to simulate this is to put the seeds in a bag of moist (not soaking) potting medium in a plastic bag and put it in a refrigerator for about three months.  In the spring plant the seeds into a pot and let them grow.  Once fall arrives the small saplings can be planted in the ground or transplanted as needed. Eventually they will produce wonderful white displays in the springtime.


Dogwoods enjoy shade and thrive in understory conditions.  They are a native tree to the eastern United States that grows up to 30 feet tall but tend to be much shorter. You can see some of the white flowers of the dogwood blooming with the redbuds (Cercis canadensis) along our back property line. 

The winner of Name that Seed is Gail of Clay and Limestone!  She really knows her seeds!

14 comments :

  1. I have dogwoods all around and have never taken the time to look inside the drupes. Always something new to learn.

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  2. Which is so funny because I am not a propagator like you or Tina! Dave your spring bloom is beautiful along the property line! gail

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  3. Your posts are so informative. Hope you didn't mind my joking around about the birds yesterday.


    Congratulations to Gail!
    Cameron

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  4. Congrats Gail! She really does know her seeds!

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  5. Hi Dave, thanks for telling us about how to grow the dogwoods from seeds. There definitely need to be more dogwoods in the world, or at least here in TN! I have dogwood seedlings in every bed, not as many as the maples and cedars but plenty to share. Many of the dogwoods as this house are from seedlings from our other TN house, planted as tiny six inch sticks and are now fifteen to twenty feet high and flowering faithfully each year. The seedlings from the pink flowered ones are more white than pink however, but that is okay for I love them all.
    Frances

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  6. I agree with Frances. There needs to be many more dogwoods everywhere. Has anyone have any straight trunk ed dogwoods in their garden?

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  7. Gail,

    I sent you an email but I'm not sure if you got it. If you could email me your address I'll have them send you your pair of Muck Boots!

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  8. Cameron,

    I'm not sure what you are referring to! Was it on yesterday's post? If so it never showed up. Of course I don't mind joking around!

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  9. Frances,

    I agree not enough dogwoods! I got those seeds ready for stratification today so hopefully I'll have a few more dogwoods around. I've read where you have to graft the pink blooming varieties onto root stock of the white ones. The seeds generally turn out mostly white.

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  10. I have two dogwoods from the Arbor Day Foundation that I hope to transplant to their final home this spring.

    And I'm sure you all know the story behind the dogwood blossom:

    Southern folklore has it that at the time of the crucifixion of Christ the dogwood grew as large and big as the oak, and that because of its strength it was chosen as the timber from which the cross was fashioned. The tree was distressed to be used for this cruel purpose, and Jesus sensed this. According to the tale, Jesus says to the tree, "Because of your regret and pity for My suffering, never again shall the dogwood tree grow large enough to be used as a cross. Henceforth it shall be slender and bent and twisted and its blossoms shall be in the form of a cross — two long and two short petals. And in the center of the outer edge of each petal there will be nail prints, brown with rust and stained with red, and in the center of the flower will be a crown of thorns, and all who see it will remember."

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  11. I used to live in TN when I was a student at UT... Great warm memories. Whenever I think of TN, a Dogwood that was outside my window comes to mind, specially in spring time. I live in southamerica and I would like to know if DOGWOODS would grow here. Average temp is about 85F and humidity is about 70% all year long. Thanks for any answer.

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  12. Anonymous,

    That's an interesting question! I doubt that they could survive long term there. Dogwoods need the cold period that they receive in the winter time. Here in the US Cornus florida will grow in zones 5-8. I don't think it would work in your area but you could give it a try. There is a dogwood that is found in Panama called Cornus disciflora but it doesn't have the showy flowers of the Cornus florida dogwood. There might be another that will work in your area but I'm unfamiliar with the tropical areas where you live. I hope this help you out!

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Dave

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