Most dogwoods are slightly poisonous

Most dogwoods are slightly poisonous

Leaves, bark and roots in particular contain toxins

The toxicity of the various dogwood species is quite different, with most of them being only slightly poisonous and thus only causing minor symptoms of poisoning if the worst comes to the worst. Sensitive people and children can react with skin contact with various parts of the plant with irritation or rashes, because the toxins mainly collect in the leaves, the bark and the roots. Accidental ingestion of these items can cause nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. Small pets such as rabbits, guinea pigs or cats, for which most dogwoods can be deadly, are much more at risk.

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  • Most dogwoods thrive in a spot with light partial shade
  • Red dogwood is only slightly poisonous
  • Dogwood - fruits of many hornbeam species are edible

The fruits of some dogwood species are edible

As a rule, the fruits of the dogwood are, if not poisonous (only in some species), at least inedible when raw. They taste very sour and are therefore probably not voluntarily eaten in large quantities anyway. Only birds and wild animals find the stone fruits very tasty, so that the dogwood is an important source of food for these animal species. The fruits of the red dogwood and the cornel can also be eaten by humans when cooked (ie processed into jam or fruit juice). They contain a lot of vitamin C.


The raspberry-like fruits of the Japanese flower dogwood (Cornus kousa) or Chinese flower dogwood (Cornus kousa var. Chinensis) should also be edible when cooked.