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Family: Cornaceae

Kingdom: Plantae Rank: Family Parent: Cornales Status: Valid

Common Names:

  • DOGWOOD FAMILY - English, United States of America

Morphological Description

Family Recognition in the Field: Shrubs or small trees with opposite simple leaves with arcuate veins (= pinnate veins arching toward leaf tip) and small 4-merous flowers in open terminal inflorescences or in some cases in heads subtended by showy bracts; inferior ovary developing into a drupe fruit. The "Cornus test" discussed below is also distinctive.


Notes: A small (90 species in 12 genera-Mabberley 1987), mainly n temperate family rare in the tropics and subtropics; most are trees and shrubs or rarely rhizomatous herbs; several are cultivated including the ornamentally important genus Cornus (DOGWOOD). The Nyssaceae, here recognized as a distinct family, is sometimes lumped into the Cornaceae (e.g., Burckhalter 1992; Mabberley 1997). Recent molecular analyses (Xiang et al. 1993, 1998) suggest that Cornus, Nyssaceae, Hydrangaceae, and Loasaceae, as well as several other groups, form a "cornaceous clade"; however, they do not support the lumping of Nyssaceae into Cornaceae. (subclass Rosidae)