One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A shrub or small tree of north temperate regions, which yields hard timber and is grown for its decorative foliage, red stems, or colourful berries.
Genus Cornus, family Cornaceae: many species
- ‘In the past week, the fall in temperature has turned the leaves and stems of the dogwood a glorious crimson, making it a marvellous foil for mauve Michaelmas daisies.’
- ‘Annual climbers such as sweet peas can be supported by a wigwam made from bamboo or by twiggy prunings taken from coloured stemmed dogwoods and other shrubs cut back in March.’
- ‘This dogwood is grown for both its foliage and coloured stems and because of this, doesn't necessarily have to be cut back as hard as species grown simply for their winter stems.’
- ‘Flower buds formed quickly and now two have bloomed with pink outer petals and white centres contrasting well, if accidentally, with the dark red stems of the dogwood.’
- ‘If you are growing your willows and dogwoods for their colourful winter stems, cut them hard back now.’
- 1.1 Used in names of trees which resemble the dogwood or yield similar hard timber.
So named because the wood was formerly used to make ‘dogs’ (i.e. skewers).
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