Dogwood is a common shrub on chalky and heavy clay soils. It can be found as part of the understory in ancient woodlands, in hedgerows or as a small tree.
It forms a multi-stemmed bushy shrub, with blood red twigs when young. It suckers freely and also layers itself so that it often forms dense thickets.
The opposite leaves are oval and deeply veined, and show leaf in early March. The flowers are white in clusters, and the seed a green berry turning to glossy black when ripe. It was used for making skewers – the name ‘dog’ – a sharp spike.