How to Tell the Difference Between a Dogwood & a Bradford Pear

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Dogwood blooms are quite distinctive.

Dogwood and Bradford pear trees share a lot of common traits. Their shared characteristics can make telling one from the other challenging. In spite of their similarities, Dogwoods and Bradford Pears are different species. The Bradford pear, or Pyrus calleryiana, is a cultivated variety of the callery pear, while the dogwood tree, or Cornus florida, belongs to the Cornaceae family. Both trees feature stunning white blooms and spectacular red fall foliage, but if you know what to look for, you can tell the difference between the two.


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Step 1

Analyze the leaves. If they are smooth and shiny on both sides, they belong to a Bradford pear. If the leaves have slightly fuzzy surfaces and hairy undersides, they belong to a dogwood.

Step 2

Observe the flower color. Although both dogwoods and Bradford pears can have white blossoms, some dogwood blooms feature pink petals.

Step 3

Take a look at the fruit. If your tree produces fruit that is light pink when mature, it's a Bradford pear. Dogwoods yield a bright red fruit.

Step 4

Test the wood strength. Bradford pears possess weak wood that cracks and splits easily, while dogwood wood is sturdy and close-grained.



Heidi A. Reeves

Heidi Reeves writes in Alexandria, Va. She got her first writing and editing job in 2001, when she worked as editor-in-chief of her undergraduate newspaper. Since then, she's earned a Master of Fine Arts at The University of Alabama, where she wrote and designed artist's books. Reeves writes hobby, lifestyle and wedding planning articles for various online publications.