Plant & Flower Identification

Dogwood Vs Bradford Pear – How Are They Different?

Dogwood and Bradford pear trees are familiar to both beginners and amateurs in gardening. Most people know they’re two distinct species with similar appearances, but they can’t tell the differences!

This brief post will provide a deeper understanding of them. We’ll discuss Dogwood Vs Bradford Pear‘s differences, how to distinguish them, and other useful info!

What Is Bradford Pear?

dogwood vs bradford pear
Bradford Pear

This type is a cultivar that blooms in the early spring. The Bradford tree‘s most charismatic thing is gorgeous red leaves in the late fall and clusters of lovely white flowers.

Although this deciduous tree is native to Asia countries, such as Vietnam, Japan, China, Taiwan, etc., we can find Bradford pear blossoms widely throughout the eastern United States.

Usually, it can reach heights of 30 to 50 feet and widths of 20 to 30 feet. The Bradley pear‘s canopy is broad, upright, and branched.

This species grows quickly, reaching up to 15 feet around 7–10 years. Moreover, this beautiful tree is widely planted because of its ideal average lifespan, around 15 – 25 years.

Bradford pear tree blooming into nice white bunches appears perfect for landscaping. Unfortunately, its great looks somehow give off a bad smell. It’s often described as rotten fish.

What Is Dogwood?

The Dogwood pear tree is one of the most prominent ornamental plants. This deciduous tree flourishes with attractive, from white to pink blossoms in the early spring.

Those last on the branch until red leaves appear in the fall.

Usually, it can reach 20 to 40 feet in height and spread up to 25 feet. Its attraction also comes from leaves and canopies.

The leaves are straight, smooth-edged, and slightly oval, growing symmetrically. These leaves bring us pleasant summer feelings thanks to the bright green color on top and a lighter shade on the underside.

Many local birds and small mammals, such as woodpeckers, chipmunks, etc., collect the Dogwood tree’s berries as a food source.

This native species can survive in full sun conditions if given enough water. But, it does best in shaded areas with well-drained soil.

Difference Between Dogwood Vs Bradford Pear

dogwood vs bradford pear
Between Dogwood Vs Bradford Pear

Short answer: Bradford pear tree vs. dogwood is both two medium-sized ornamental trees.

Many gardeners grow them for their beautiful spring blossoms, cool shade in summer, stunning fall views, and delicious fruit for birds. Despite certain similarities, they are two distinct species.

The Bradley pear tree (Pyrus calleryana) is from the family Rosaceae, while the other – Dogwood (Cornus florida) comes from Cornaceae!

There are similarities between these trees.

It can be difficult to distinguish them due to their similarities, but don’t worry! Now, let’s learn more about their origin, limitations, and usage differences.


The first prominent difference is their origin. Blooming Bradford pear trees come from Asia nations, including Japan, Korea, China, Vietnam, etc.

Among them, China is the most popular distribution country. Bradford pear saplings first came to the horticulture of western countries in 1908.

Later, around 1919, it appeared in the United States and was available for gardening in the 1960s after its introduction by the Department of Agriculture.

Dogwood, on the other hand, is a flowering tree native to the East. It is recorded that North America, Europe, and East Asia are the regions from which the family Cornaceae arose.



Because of their tall, closely spaced branches with a pretty fragile branching structure, Bradford pears are vulnerable to strong winds and storms. We can see a lot of debris in the yard after strong winds.

Another drawback of this plant is pruning. Usually, pruning aims to reduce potential damage. However, this tree may face some shape problems when pruning.

Even after professional pruning, these trees may appear unattractive, especially with much of their low trunk exposed.

Lastly, despite their beauty, Bradford pear trees blooming have a scent labeled fishy or sweaty sock smell.


Flowering Dogwood requires certain soil conditions and growing areas. Dogwoods prefer cool and shade conditions.

In nature, they rely on shade from larger trees to survive. However, they do need sunlight to flower.

Furthermore, the Dogwood needs to be watered more regularly than the Bradley. It also has a need for well-drained soil.

The latter is more disease resistant, while the former is more susceptible to disease and pest infestations.


Both of these plants give good shade. Furthermore, while neither Bradford berry nor dogwood berry is for human eating, birds and other species are attracted to them. Those berries are a good food source!


This tree is an ideal source of firewood. Although the fruits can’t be eaten raw, it’s material for producing seasonings and winemaking.


This tree’s hardwood has a variety of unique historical uses. Particularly, it’s highly valued by craftspeople for its resilience and longevity.

Besides, native Indians used various tree parts for medical treatments. For example, malaria, fevers, and teeth cleaning.

How To Distinguish Dogwood Tree vs Bradford Pear?

blooming bradford pear tree
Way To Distinguish Between Them

Both trees have gorgeous white blossoms and striking red fall foliage. Fortunately, we can distinguish the two Bradford pear vs Dogwood if we know what to look for.

Step 1

Investigate the leaves

  • Bradford pear: if they are shiny and smooth on both sides. 
  • Dogwood: hairy leaves with lighter shade undersides and slightly fuzzy surfaces.

Step 2

Look at the hue of the flowers. While both plants’ flowers can be in white clusters, some Dogwood blooms have slightly pink petals.

Step 3

Examine the fruits. A Bradley pear tree bears fruit that matures to pink to red-brown colors. A Dogwood tree produces vivid crimson fruits with slightly yellow.

Step 4

Go into the durability of the wood. Dogwood is a strong and closely-grained type, while the other is weaker, easily split, and cracked wood.


To sum up, the two plants flourish in spring with amazing white blossoms. At the start of fall, they burst into vibrant red leaves.

Nevertheless, they’re different in origin, certain uses, and disadvantages. We can choose which is more suitable depending on the owner’s situation!

Moreover, don’t forget that we can distinguish between Dogwood Vs Bradford Pear by carefully looking at leaf features, flower color, fruit, and wood structure.

Samuel Mark

Hello I am Samuel. Samuel's Garden is a garden blog where I share my experiences in garden caring and tree growth. Hope you enjoy it!

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