Hi Richard, I hope not to drag us afield but I thought I'd share a couple of pictures of Dogwood and a story that goes along with it. This is one of our multi-stemmed ones in the front yard, they tend to be forest edge trees, this is old overgrown pasture, you can see several others in the background. Even single stemmed ones are typically not straight.
This is the blossom
The story is that this tree was used for the cross. The tree blooms around Easter and the blossom is shaped like the cross and shows the scars of the nails on the tips of the petal to remind us. The story goes on to say that this was once a tall stately tree that was banished to always be a gnarled small thing afterwards so that it could never be used in that way again. I was told not to cut one unneccesarily. It is not my intention to sermonize but it does make a nice story and I like the lore that accompanies different trees.
The wood itself is typically white, sometimes dries with a pink cast that I believe is an enzyme reaction although there is a reddish cast to the heartwood which it often does not contain much or any of. It is dense and quite strong, imparts no flavors and was used for tools, small parts and cooking implements. This is the tech sheet, it looks like the last 3 sentences under "the tree" are a mix up but the rest is accurate. http://www2.fpl.fs.fed.us/TechSheets/HardwoodNA/htmlDocs/cornus.html
If you look at the mechanical properties and have a feel for them, this is a tough,stiff,hard,dense wood
Many of ours are succumbing to anthracnose, it burns well and I try to lay up a few good looking chunks. There is much loss in drying so it may take a few pieces in the woodstove before you get a keeper. It self polishes like beech and is a nice handle wood, turns well also.