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Cornus sanguinea flowering head and leaves

Cornus sanguinea flowering head and leaves

This plant was suckering from a nearby hedge since the last time the grass verge had been cut. Dogwood Cornus sanguinea belongs to the Cornaceae family, with opposite leaves and small 4 petalled flowers in umbels. The leaves tend to turn from green to red in the autumn, and the main veins of each leaf tend to curve back towards the tip.

Whether or not the leaves are opposite (  2 leaves attached to the main stem at the same point) or not, is a useful diagnostic feature; especially in winter tree identification. When the leaves fall we are left with a narrow red-tinged stem with small buds that are opposite and pressed closely to the stem. The closely related Red-osier Dogwood Cornus sericea has been widely planted for its winter colour and has bright red stems.