Benthamidia florida (L.) Spach

Flowering Dogwood

Habitat: Acidic woods. [Hardwood to mixed forest (forest, upland)]

Range: Florida to Texas and Mexico, north to southern Maine, and west to southern Ontario and Kansas.

Aids to Identification: Flowering dogwood is a small tree, growing to 10 m, with opposite leaves, very rough bark, and mostly dark purple twigs and branchlets. The most conspicuous character is the presence of 4-6 large white (occasionally pink) bracts which surround the small clusters of flowers. It is the only dogwood in Maine that is both woody and has red fruits.

Ecological characteristics: Only one persistent population of flowering dogwood is known to remain in Maine ; another population has been decimated by road construction with the remaining few trecs in poor condition.

Phenology: Flowers March - June. Fruits August - November.

Family: Cornaceae

Synonyms: Benthamia florida (L.) Spach; Cornus florida L.; Cynoxylon floridum (L.) Rav ex B.D. Jackson.

Known Distribution in Maine: This rare plant has been documented from a total of 3 town(s) in the following county(ies): Kennebec, York.

Reason(s) for rarity: At northern limit of range; not rare southwards.

Conservation considerations: This plant is restricted statewide to southern Maine, and conversion of its habitat to residential and commercial use is partly responsible for its rarity. It becomes increasingly common southward.