Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Weird Dogwood

Yes there is a strange dogwood in our yard.  I would have had it cut down as it has dieback on one major limb and is past its prime, but having seen it flower I knew it was something special so it was spared from the saw.  In fact I had some nearby hemlock branches cut so it could get more sun, and I do water it when it gets too dry, as was often the case last summer.

 The flowers don't quite open, and most closely resemble a subspecies of Cornus florida that occurs in Mexico, ssp urbiniana.  Yet I find it hard to believe the previous owners would have gotten their hands on this much sought after subspecies.  They did like pretty bushes and planted a lot of azaleas and rhododendrons, most of which remain, along with forsythia, lilacs, andromeda, and other common shrubs, some of which I have eliminated or reduced. But if this dogwood is not urbiniana it must be a mutant which coincidentally results in the same caged flower appearance as ssp urbiniana. It is attractive in a different sort of way, and I am trying to propagate it.  Cuttings that I took and also brought to NYBG failed, so I am trying to ground layer it.  I also have pots of seedlings coming along but as dogwoods are self sterile from what I read, I assume the seedlings have a regular dogwood father.  What I don't know is if the caged flower trait is dominant or not, so I won't know what the offspring will look like until they bloom, which could be a long time.

The tree has been making more flowers since I had the hemlock branches in front of it removed.   I still need to remove a dead limb from the tree, but overall I think it is liking the renewed attention it is getting since we got here


Many flowers eventually open but never flatten out like normal dogwoods, and all the bracts have that odd keel or fold in their middle.

Odd indeed but I like it.

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