Thursday, March 26, 2009
I haven't been to town this week, perhaps the dogwoods are already blooming there but here in the foothills, my dogwoods are just now starting to show the beginning of blossoms. Here's a photo I took this morning, the tree is right beside the screen of our back porch, I love it being so close.
When we moved to SC back in 1961 my husband (who was the master of stories and fables, not always true) told me the story about the dogwood and the cross and told me that the dogwood always blooms at Easter time. I remembered that this year as I've watched my tree get ready to bloom. Then I decided to Google Dogwood and see if he was just telling me that or if it really was a legend. I found out it really was a true legend and there's more to it, I'll bet anything he knew the rest of it too. Here's what I found:
The word ~dogwood~ comes from a custom in England to wash dogs with a concoction made from dogwood bark to cure mange.
According to legend the dogwood was the size of the oak and other forest trees. Being firm and strong, it was chosen as the timber for the cross, during the Crucifixion of Christ. According to stories, the tree was distressed for being used for a cruel purpose, and Jesus being nailed to it sensed this and told the tree, "Because of your regret and pity for my suffering, never again shall the dogwood tree grow large enough to be used as a cross. Henceforth it shall be slender and bent and twisted and its blossoms shall be in the form of a cross, two long and two short petals. In the center of the outer edge of each petal there will be nail prints, brown with rust and stained with red, and in the middle of the flower will be a crown of thorns, and all who see it will remember ..."
The wood of dogwood was widely used in the textile industry and to make shuttlecocks, spools, dowels, baseball bats and shingles. Dogwood is so hard that it can even be used as a wedge to split other wood. The bark was used to make tea as a remedy for fever. According to Loudon, 1838, Arboretum Euonymus, a decoction of its leaves was used to wash dogs to free them from vermin. It was used to intoxicate fishes in Jamaica and as a tobacco additive by American Indians.
British Columbia adopted the Pacific dogwood Cornus nuttallii as its official provincial flower in 1956. During World War II, the sale of dogwood lapel pins earned money to purchase wool and other comforts for British Columbian soldiers. Dogwood blossoms are depicted on British Columbia’s coat of arms and on a flag flown by franco-Columbians, or French-speaking residents.
Dogwood ~Flowers or Trees~ are the official state flowers/trees of Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Virginia & British Columbia.
On April 23, 1995 President and Mrs. Clinton planted a flowering dogwood on the grounds of the White House to memorialize the loss of life in the Oklahoma City Bombing.