It is mainly found in hedges and on the edges of woodland. It grows best on calcareous (chalky) soils.
Dogwood (Cornus sanguinea) is a native shrub. In the spring it has clusters of creamy flowers and in the autumn small black berries (sometimes called ‘dogberries’) and bright red leaves. Its insect pollinated flowers are hermaphrodites (made up of both male and female parts).
However, dogwood is best known for its brightly coloured bark in winter. The bark on the new growth stems is red but only on the stems which are in sunlight. Those in the shade are green! Bark’s job is similar to that of our skin. It protects the tree from the weather, making sure that it doesn’t get scorched from the sun or dried out by the wind and keeps animals and fungi away from the sugary sap underneath.
It’s thought that its name has nothing to do with dogs but is from the word ‘dag’ which means skewer or spike because it was used by butchers for skewering meat!