Classification of Cornaceae genera, the Dogwood family is not settled and it can be seen as a strictly defined family
with 2 genera (Cornus and Alangium) having 80 to 85 species or loosely defined with up to 15 genera.
They are mostly deciduous trees or shrubs with a few herbs.
Leaves, usually on petioles are mostly opposite with some in spirals.
The simple or occasionally lobed blades typically have a smooth sometimes wavy edge.
Hairs are present and stipules are usually absent.
Axillary or terminal inflorescences can be a single flower, an unbranched or variously branched cluster or a head which
may have a whorl of large petal-like involucral bracts below it.
The flowers, on a short or no stalk or pedicel are small and mostly bisexual.
A few species have a hypanthium of fused sepal, petal and stamen bases and it is sometimes fused to the ovary.
The 4 or 5 (0 to 10) always small sepals in the calyx may be free or partly fused.
There are a similar number of petals that are free of each other.
The 4 or 5 (10) stamens, on distinct filaments alternate with the petals.
The dorsifixed or basifixed anthers open through longitudinal slits.
The stamen filaments insert onto or just external to the annular nectiferous disc on top of the ovary.
The inferior ovary usually has 2 or 4 (1) locules each with 1 or 2 ovules with apical placentation.
There is 1 (or more) long or short style with a variously shaped stigma.
The fruit is typically a drupe with 1 (2) seeds enclosed in a hard coat with a furrow down one side.