Dogwood (Cornus sanguinea)

Dogwood is a deciduous shrub that reaches between 2 and 5 metres with red-tinted stems, which are a very attractive feature in winter. It has clusters of small white flowers, which smell unpleasant to humans but are attractive to insects.These are followed by small black fruits, which are bitter and inedible. The leaves turn a bright red in autumn.

To maintain the young brightly coloured stems, the shrub should be cut back entirely to the ground (or remove all older, duller shoots) every year or two to encourage new growth.

Dogwood has nothing to do with dogs.The wood is hard and was used to make skewers, known as “dags” ie dagwood.This also illustrates the root of the word “dagger”.“Oetzi” the 5000
year old Stone Age iceman found on the Austrian-Italian border in 1991, was carrying arrows made from dogwood.

Dogwood is a food plant for caterpillars of the green hairstreak and holly blue butterflies.