In 1918, the proud state of Virginia named the American dogwood as its state flower. The dog wood has a nice history in Virginia, one of the most notable founding fathers of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, loved the dogwood and grew it on his estate. He likely found the simple, elegant white flowers to be striking against the dark leaves of the dogwood tree.
When the lawmakers of Virginia designated the dogwood as the state flower of Virginia, they made a note that they hoped the choice of the flower would stimulate a greater interest in the history of the state – perhaps even the history of the famous Jefferson whose home, Monticello, is located in Virginia where you can still find the dogwood trees today.
The Dogwood Tree and Flower
Virginia is distinctive among the other states for many reasons including the fact that the state flower and the state tree are actually the same plant. Dogwood is a tree that produces creamy white flowers in the spring with a broad petal arrangement. When the flowers fall by summer, they leave behind a dark green foliage. The flowers are not actually flowers in the most traditional sense. They are actually bracts that surround the real, tiny yellowish flowers on the tree.
The dogwood tree grows to be close to thirty of forty feet, so it is a tree that needs plenty of room if you’re hoping to grow a dogwood as part of your garden. The dogwood is often wider than it is tall and is considered a fine ornamental tree for the garden. The dogwood is native to North Carolina and grows well in most parts of the eastern United States where there is high humidity, filtered light and protection from wind. Dogwoods don’t do well in full sunlight or deep shade. They also need well drained soil to thrive.