The flowering dogwood is the official state tree of Missouri.
It is native to eastern North America, reaching all the way from southern Maine to eastern Texas. The dogwood is a small, deciduous tree which grows to 33 ft. high and is often wider than it is tall. Its leaves are opposite and simple, and turn a red-brown color in fall.
While its flowers are small and inconspicuous, they are surrounded by four large white, pink or red “petals” (actually bracts) which brilliantly cover the tree in the early spring. These bracts are rounded and have a distinctive notch at the apex.
Dogwood fruit is a cluster of two to ten small drupes, which become bright red in the late summer and the early fall. They are an important food source for dozens of species of birds. In 2012, the United States sent 3,000 dogwood saplings to Japan to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the Washington, D. C. cherry trees given to the U. S. by Japan.