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The genus Cornus is a group of about 30-60 species[Note 1] of woody plants in the family Cornaceae, commonly known as dogwoods. Most dogwoods are deciduous trees or shrubs, but a few species are nearly herbaceous perennial subshrubs, and a few of the woody species are evergreen. Several species have small heads of inconspicuous flowers surrounded by an involucre of large, typically white petal-like bracts, while others have more open clusters of petal-bearing flowers. The various species of dogwood are native throughout much of temperate and boreal Eurasia and North America, with China and Japan and the southeastern United States particularly rich in native species.
The dogwoods include the common dogwood (Cornus sanguinea) of Eurasia, the widely cultivated flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) of eastern North America, the Pacific dogwood (Cornus nuttallii) of western North America, the Kousa Dogwood (Cornus kousa) of eastern Asia, and two low-growing boreal species, the Canadian and Eurasian dwarf cornels (or bunchberries), Cornus canadensis and Cornus suecica, respectively.
Depending on botanical interpretation, the dogwoods are variously divided into one to nine genera or subgenera; a broadly inclusive genus Cornus is accepted here, with four subgenera.