Cornus florida

Dogwood (Bicolor Dogwood)


1150 Rohrerstown Road, Lancaster PA


Len Eiserer


Bicolor dogwoods can be created in different ways. Obviously a person can plant nursery-bought pink and white (or red) cultivars in the same hole to create the appearance of a single, bicolor tree (see entry for the Japanese Maple at Arbor Harbor). But the more common way: Pink dogwoods can only be propagated by grafting, and they’re invariably grafted onto the root stock of a white dogwood. If the owner doesn’t trim root suckers, the white-flowered root stock will grow up with the pink-flowered scion. It isn’t possible to have a dogwood with pink and white blossoms mixed throughout the tree on the same branches; instead, each individual branch will be uniformly white or uniformly pink in its entirety.


This amazing species probably derives its name from either of two historical uses of the wood and bark: (1) people used to treat dogs with mange by boiling dogwood bark in water and then washing the canine in the resulting broth; (2) in the more likely etymological origin, slender stems of this tree’s hard wood were used for making daggers, and by 1614 the name Dagwood Tree had changed to Dogwood.