Sep 16, 2010

Swamp Dogwood

Though the swamp dogwood Cornus foemina may go unnoticed by most of our visitors it is very appealing to birds . This tree unlike its showy cousin the flowering dogwood Cornus florida lacks large flowers and bright red berries. The Swamp Dogwood blooms in the spring with small pale flowers that turn into white berries. In August the berries turn blue and birds flock to dine on them. I planted a swamp dogwood in our arboretum near the Butterfly House about 12 years ago. The tree, now fully mature, is about 25 feet tall with a spreading canopy. I rarely see Redheaded Woodpeckers at Cypress Gardens but when I do they are always in this tree. Last year I saw both juvenile and adults eating the berries. Earlier this week I saw Redhead, Pileated, Downy and Red Bellied Woodpeckers in the tree. Laura came by to see this bird magnet on Friday and we racked up a list of birds feeding on the berries. Male and female Summer Tanagers, a Red-eyed Vireo, a family of Bluebirds, Brown Thrashers, Mockingbirds, juvenile Red-headed and juvenile Red-bellied woodpeckers, Kingbirds and a small flock of Purple Martins flew over. We have two types of swamp dogwoods C. foemina and C. amomum the later is shorter and bushy. The birds eat the berries of both.

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