Dogwoods, a wide-ranging group of plants that include small trees and shrubs, are a colorful, four-season addition to any Maine landscape.

Many dogwoods are native to New England, but some of the most popular landscape plants are imports.

The botanical name for dogwood is Cornus, and the native species include Cornus florida, Cornus alternifolia and Cornus sericea. Non-natives include Cornus kousa, from Japan and Korea, and Cornus mas, from Asia and Europe.

Cornus florida, or flowering dogwood, is a spring beauty, growing 25 feet tall with wide-spreading branches and a short trunk, is covered with white flowers followed by red berries, which birds love. According to Doug Tallamy’s “Bringing Nature Home,” Cornus florida hosts more than 100 moths and butterflies, compared to six for Cornus kousa. Unfortunately Cornus florida also is susceptible to powdery mildew, anthracnose and the dogwood borer.

To fight these diseases, plant in an open area with acidic soil that is moist but well-drained, full to part sun and good air circulation, so the leaves dry quickly.

Cornus alternifolia, or pagoda dogwood, is smaller with an ultimate height of 15 feet. One of the best varieties is ‘Golden Shadows,’ which has striking gold margins to green leaves.

Cornus sericea is even smaller, 5 to 8 feet, disease resistant and often grown for the winter interest of its bright red or yellow stems.