Missouri State Tree

Missouri State Tree

Flowering Dogwood 

On June 20, 1955, the flowering dogwood (Cornus Florida L.) became
Missouri’s official tree.
Missouri’s state tree is beautiful in all seasons, with white clusters in spring, deep green leaves in summer, red berries in late summer, bright reddish foliage in fall, and interesting bark and buds in winter. 

The tree is fairly small, rarely growing over 40 feet in height or 18 inches in diameter. The dogwood sprouts tiny greenish-yellow flowers in clusters, with each flower surrounded by four white petals. The leaves are opposite, oval leaves are olive green above and covered with silvery hairs underneath. 

In the fall, the upper part of the leaves turns scarlet or orange and bright red fruits grow on the tree. The red berries are high in fat and protein and are great for birds and wildlife in Missouri. 

You can see the beautiful showy flowers all through April in Missouri. The wood of the flowering dogwood tree is exceptionally hard and has been used for tool handles and mallet heads. Although current-day the wood is used for artisan cutting boards that you might see in a craft fair in Missouri.

Leaf

Opposite, simple, arcuately veined, 3 to 6 inches long, oval in shape with an entire margin.

Flower

Very small, but surrounded by 4 large white (occasionally pink) bracts, 2 inches in diameter. Appearing March to April in the south, June in the north.

Fruit

A shiny, oval red drupe, 1/4 to 1/2 inch long, in clusters of 3 to 4.
Maturing in September to October.

Twig

Slender, green or purple, later turning gray, often with a glaucous bloom.
The terminal flower buds are clove-shaped, vegetative buds resemble a cat claw.

Bark

Gray when young, turning very scaly to blocky.

Form

A small tree with a short trunk that branches low, producing a flat-topped crown. Branches are opposite, and assume a “candelabra” appearance.

Copyright 2019 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental
Conservation;  Text by: John Seiler,
Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson;
Silvics reprinted from Ag Handbook 654; range map source information