Cornus nuttallii · Pacific dogwood · Pacific coast
Cornus florida · flowering dogwood · Eastern US into Mexico
Large white flowers in April and good fall color of the leaves and bunches of red drupes commend C. nuttallii, a native tree. Examination reveals that the conspicuous part of the flower is not composed of petals at all but is composed of four (or five or six) large cream or partly pink bracts. The tree grows wild in the Santa Cruz Mountains south of here and deserves to be honored more extensively at Stanford.
Native dogwood resents disturbance by normal gardening activities and is highly susceptible to anthracnose, a leaf fungus disease that can cause stem cankers; therefore nurseries supply varieties of eastern dogwood C. florida, whose fruit was formerly eaten by Native Americans, C. kousa from Japan and Korea, Tatarian dogwood C. alba, and Cornelian cherry C. mas.
In recent years, Stanford has planted hybrids of Cornus nuttallii and C. florida. ‘Eddie’s White Wonder’ is at the entrance to the Art Gallery and at the intersection of Lomita and Serra malls. Two are at the edges of the Amy J. Blue Garden next to Memorial Church.
Additionally, Cornus florida varieties, particularly ‘Rubra’, can also be seen at Bing Nursery School and the back of the Humanities Center on Santa Teresa Street. ‘Cloud Nine’ is between buildings 100 and 110 of the Main Quad. There is a row of what is probably C. florida along the east face of the Center for Integrated Systems, Via Palou Mall, though these may be a hybrid with C. nuttallii as well.
Illustrations: Cornaceae gallery.
Name derivation: Cornus – Latin name for C. mas; florida – flowering nuttallii – after Thomas Nuttall (1786–1839).
About this Entry: The main text of this entry is from the book Trees of Stanford and Environs, by Ronald Bracewell, published 2005. John Rawlings subsequently clarified a few identifications.