Monday, 2 September 2013

Dogwood

In June the dogwood bush (Cornus sanguinea) produced its white sprays of flowers.   
 
 
The clue for recognition is the parallel veins on the leaves.
 
There is another test for dogwoods too.  Take a leaf and fold it across the middle at right angles to the main vein until it almost cracks in half. 
 
 
Then pull it gently apart. The latex in the veins is liquid but immediately solidifies when it is exposed to the air. This produces tiny cobweb-like threads between the top and bottom halves of the leaf.
 
 
  
 
I did this on a green-stemmed dogwood, Cornus stolonifera, in my garden but it applies to all of the Cornus genus.
 
In parts of Filnore Woods you can see the green, unripe berries amongst the dogwood leaves now in early September.  Eventually they will turn black.
 
 
But where it is drier and sunnier, the leaves on some of the dogwood bushes are turning red already.
 
 
Autumn is not here yet but the first signs are appearing.
 
 
The origin of the name dogwood may be a corruption of 'dagwood' as the clean straight twigs were used to make dags or skewers. 



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