(Stiff Dogwood - Stiff Cornel)
Cornaceae (Dogwood) Family
Plant is a small tree or shrub usually no more than 10-15 feet tall; large open crown, spreading branches and multiple trunks of no greater than two inches in diameter. Preferred habitat is swamp bottoms and stream banks or along moist hillsides. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region The plant is an occasional shrub in Alabama but common in Florida. New growth twigs are reddish; older growth of two years or more has a white pith, thus making for easier identification.
Leaves are opposite; small; sharp pointed, smooth and dark green above; long stalked; paler beneath; leaf sides are less than equal (pinched) and often folded; turns dark brown and orange in autumn with unsightly spots.
Flowers are small; white and presented on long stalks at the end of flowering stems; usually four petals fused to funnel-shape or bell-shape. Bracts are white and loosely attached. Flowers occur in early spring.
Fruit is a cluster of blue/black drupes on long stems; fleshy pulp encapsulating a single hard seed.